Serbia boosting RES projects with lucrative FiT system for green kwh

8. March 2013. / News Serbia Energy

Serbia could receive over €700 in investments into wind parks alone in the next few years, developments which would mean Serbia no longer needs to import power during the winter. The Ministry for Energy recently fired the starting gun in the race to develop Serbia’s energy independence, a competition that is attracting major players from both East and West. The question is whether those that currently profit from Serbia’s energy dependence will sit on the sidelines of the competition.

The announcement of several new investments in wind parks, especially the one in Kovin, which is to be built in the autumn by the American company Continental Wind Partners, has demonstrated the huge potential of this energy source. Under the administration of  Barack Obama the industry has experienced a quantum leap forward and from being the mascot of renewable energy it has become a billion dollar industry. Therefore, it is not surprising that the value of the investment in Kovin is measured in hundreds of millions of euros and it is only one of several projects of similar size. No longer a light breeze of eco-wind, we are now talking about an economic whirlwind, a serious industry with growth of geometric progression.

Investments in renewable energy sources (RES) – with particular focus on wind parks – are higher than the added value to Serbia’s economy of the construction of new coal power plants. This significantly redefines the story about RES, which is now about a significant source of economic revenues and no longer just a tale of ecology and environmental protection.

Besides investments in this area, Serbia’s energy self-sufficiency is hardly feasible without robust measures to improve energy efficiency and aggressive policies to subsidize energy efficient light bulbs or hybrid or electric cars. These measures may produce results very quickly and every decrease in energy consumption – no matter how expensive it is during the initial purchase – has multiple positive effects over time. That is why it is advisable to think about a complete ban on sales of classical electric bulbs in Serbia and the approval of larger subsidies for hybrid and electric cars. Driving an electric car today seems like an expensive luxury, just like the use of mobile phones in the early 1990s. But just like mobile phones it is obvious that these prices will decrease and even today sales of hundreds of thousands of electric cars are bringing revenues to all the major car manufacturers. Serbia should also strive towards that global trend.

Serbia’s energy self-sufficiency is a realistic aim and many countries larger than Serbia have managed to achieve such a strategy. Brazil, a country of almost 200 million people, announced its energy independence in 2008 on the wings of the explosive growth of the bio-fuel industry, in particular bioethanol from sugar cane. The USA, formerly addicted to fuel from the Middle East, has announced its own energy independence for 2020. Independence will come from the development of technology to exploit cheap gas and oil from shale and also through the aggressive growth of the renewable energy industry and the accelerated transition of the automobile industry towards hybrid and electric cars.

Cheap electricity is a key factor in Serbia, which enables heating for millions of people since the prices for gas and oil are sky high. The environmental consequences of a dramatic rise in electricity prices could be severe; would Serbia lose its forests or suffer worse pollution as people start to use coal heating?

The announcement of serious investments in RES is the first important step in the opposite direction: towards decreasing imports of energy and towards the first very serious domestic energy capacity which can be reached in the short term. Wind parks can be built much faster than the many years needed for thermal or hydro power plants. Recently, one solar power plant has been constructed “over night” in the city of Kursumlija. There are also hundreds of projects for small hydro power plants which may be realized relatively quickly. Their share in the total energy production of Serbia will not be merely symbolic. On the contrary, it will mean a lot for Serbia and will be available relatively quickly. Therefore, we are happy to hear the announcements that the investment cycle starts this year, but it is also very hard to escape from the black foreboding that the architects of “energy dependent Serbia” will not stay still watching Serbia’s energy industry getting stronger and the reliance on imported energy going down.

Source geforcee geblogs

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