May 22, 2024
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Lack of Concrete Strategies Criticized in Balkans’ Climate Plans

Bosnia, Kosovo, and Serbia are facing criticism from the Climate Action Network (CAN), a European NGO coalition dedicated to combating climate change, for their lack of concrete strategies in achieving greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

The three Western Balkan countries have fallen short of targets set in their National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) and have made inadequate efforts to transition away from coal, according to a report by CAN, according to Reuters.

“Persistent dependence on an outdated and inefficient coal fleet hampers the much-needed transition to renewable energy sources in the region, further complicated by the potential transition to fossil gas as indicated in the NECPs,” the report said.

“This undermines the feasibility of implementing carbon pricing policies, which are inadequately addressed in the NECPs,” it added.

Bosnia, the sole electricity exporter in the region, heavily relies on coal-fired power plants, generating up to 60% of its power, supplemented by hydroelectric sources. Similarly, Kosovo and Serbia produce around 90% and 70% of their electricity from ailing coal-fired plants, with the remainder coming from hydro, wind, and solar power.

The report said that while the countries’ national plans express general goals of transitioning to green energy and pledge to cease investments in new coal-generating capacities, they lack specific details on capacity scale, sectoral uptake, and comprehensive grid integration strategies.

Notably, Bosnia, targeting a 43.6% share of renewable energy in its power production by 2030, plans to keep units of coal-fired plants operational beyond their 20,000 working hours’ threshold, contrary to closure expectations.

The NECP in Kosovo fails to provide a comprehensive strategy for the phase-out of lignite, a soft coal abundant in the region. Coal power plants are expected to remain operational beyond 2040, raising concerns about Kosovo’s commitment to decarbonization.

The report calls on Serbia to establish more ambitious energy efficiency targets in alignment with its commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The findings underscore the need for these countries to address critical gaps in their strategies and accelerate efforts to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

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