Western Balkans: Decarbonization is still at an early stage

, SEE Energy News

The Western Balkans 6 Energy Transition Tracker monitors and assesses the progress the WB6 have made on their energy transition paths through qualitative and quantitative indicators related to reducing emission footprints, improving functioning of the energy markets, scaling up renewables, improving energy efficiency and planning for the decarbonized energy future.

The Western Balkan 6 parties are progressing with the implementation of actions agreed by the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda, but their efforts are yet to deliver tangible results in terms of truly moving away from coal, embracing energy from renewable sources and decreasing their emission footprints, concludes the latest edition of the Energy Community Secretariat’s Energy Transition Tracker.

All fossil-fuel power plants continue to operate and production even increased by 4 % in 2020, resulting in a rise of carbon dioxide (4 %), nitrogen oxide (6.5 %), SO2 (8.7 %) and dust (4 %) emissions, compared to 2019. Renewables capacity is growing but at a slow pace, with only 188 MW of solar and hydro capacity added in 2020. Investments in energy efficiency in buildings picked up in the past year, however, only one third of the estimated investment needs for 2011-2020 have been met.

Electricity markets must improve to be fit for the energy transition. Incumbent companies continue to dominate wholesale and retail markets in WB6, with a downward trend visible only in North Macedonia. The non-internalization of costs of CO2 emissions, worth 1.2 billion euros at average EU ETS price in 2020, distorts the level playing field between EU and WB6 electricity markets and puts further market integration at risk.