On 18-19 October, the high-level renewables investment conference Energy Week Western Balkans 2023 will take place at the new location, Porto Montenegro.
Launched in 2022 by UK-based Invest In Network, Energy Week has become the region’s premier event bringing together state authorities, regulators, utilities and TSOs from Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Albania and Kosovo as well as IFIs/DFIs and a large pool of global developers targeting this lucrative market.
As Energy Week Western Balkan is approaching, the conference agenda promises a resounding success. Here is a sneak peek of the first day.
Traditionally, Energy Week has a grand OPENING with welcome addresses from governments of the Western Balkan states and European institutions. In 2023, the floor will be given to: Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission (online), Dubravka Đedović, Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia, Petar Đokić, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining of Republic of Srpska, Vedran Lakić, Minister of Energy, Mining and Industry of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Staša Košarac, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ministers from Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania.
Following the opening, participants are invited to ignite meaningful conversation and discuss if a 100 per cent renewable energy mix is possible for the Western Balkans together with Eric Scotto, Founder and CEO of Akuo and Alessandro Bragonzi, Head of Regional Representation for the Western Balkans at EIB.
Power of need and energy security in the Western Balkans
The Western Balkans are facing a critical moment in their energy transition, as the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis have increased their dependence on fossil fuels and raised the costs of decarbonisation. The region has been lagging behind the EU in phasing out coal and moving towards clean energy sources, despite having abundant potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency. The energy crisis has also exposed the vulnerability of the Western Balkan countries to external shocks and price fluctuations, as well as the social and environmental impacts of coal dependence. The EU’s introduction of CBAM, which will impose a carbon tax on imports from countries that do not have a similar carbon pricing system, will further increase the pressure on the Western Balkans to align their energy policies with the EU’s climate goals.
Dejan Popovic, President of the Council of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia, Branislav Prelević, President of the Board of the Energy and Water Regulatory Agency of Montenegro will discuss this with colleagues from across the region.
Future of utilities: from crisis to transition and the role of transmission
The energy crisis in the Western Balkans poses a serious challenge for the utilities that provide electricity to millions of people.
One of the key aspects of ensuring the security of supply and flexibility in a power system is the technology mix. The utilities of the region are diversifying their energy sources and investing in renewable energy projects, such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass. These projects not only reduce the dependence on fossil fuels and lower the carbon footprint but also create new jobs and opportunities for local communities.
By embracing innovation and collaboration, they are showing their commitment to delivering secure, sustainable and affordable electricity to their customers. And, of course, investing in transmission will further foster renewables integration.
Among key speakers: Luka Petrović, General Director, Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (EPRS), Aleksandar Mijušković, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Crnogorski elektroprenosni system (CGES), Skerdi Drenova, CEO, OST, Jeton Mehmeti, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kosovo Transmission System and Market Operator (KOSTT), Senad Salkić, Executive Director for Capital Investments, Elektroprivreda BiH.
Financing the green energy transition
The Western Balkans are facing a dual challenge of decarbonising their economies and increasing their resilience to climate change. To achieve this, Western Balkans need to mobilise green finance from both public and private sources.
Some of the possible ways to boost green finance could include:
Developing a clear and consistent policy framework that aligns with the EU Green Deal and the Paris Agreement;
Enhancing the capacity and awareness of financial institutions, regulators, and stakeholders on green finance opportunities and standards;
Creating enabling conditions for green investments, such as improving the quality and availability of data, reducing administrative barriers, and providing incentives and guarantees;
Promoting green financial products and services, such as green bonds, loans, funds, and insurance, that can attract domestic and foreign investors;
Strengthening regional cooperation and integration to leverage economies of scale and share best practices.
Petar Mitrović of Karanovic & Partners will lead the conversation with representatives of Green for Growth Fund, MIGA, Erste Group Bank, UK Export Finance (UKEF) and others.