Roundtable discussion on the progress of the renewable energy sector in Kosovo

Pristina, June 25, 2019 - Balkan Green Foundation (BGF), GAP Institute, the Legal and Policy Studies Group (GLPS) and the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) organized a roundtable on "Renewable Energy Capacities and their Cost Effectiveness." The discussion focused on Kosovo's progress in achieving its renewable energy targets, opportunities in the renewable energy resources (RES), the current investment climate, and the sector’s overall cost-effectiveness.

At the roundtable, a resume of the main findings by the key energy sector stakeholders of the country was presented, where the importance of switching from conventional forms of energy production to renewable energy was highlighted. The importance of switching from a simple subsidy form, from feed-in tariffs to those that come closer to market prices, - auctions, but also the importance and validity of RES in the health and productivity of the society was discussed.

Important issues were discussed, but also the concerns of the private sector and those of the civil society were presented. Representatives from businesses in the renewable energy sector, stressed particularly the great difficulties they face in this sector, especially in the issues of bureaucratic applications and bureaucratic processes, as well as of other obstacles especially those related to the connection process to the grid. Delays that can take months but also years.

In his introductory speech, the Minister of Economic Development Valdrin Lluka said that based on Eurostat data, Kosovo fulfills 24% of its energy needs from renewable energy sources, but it is worth mentioning the controversial level allegedly coming from biomass. "With numbers we stand relatively good, better than the countries in the region but the reality leaves much to be desired. The share of renewable resources needs to be improved", added Lluka.

Agron Demi, from GAP Institute said: "There was no capacity from solar or wind power in 2011 and the level of RES was low, but eight years later there is extensive discussion about these capacities. The data so far show that broad integration of RES is feasible in our energy system. Wind investments in Kitka 32 MW and SOWI 105 MW, now we have more than two successful projects that have paved the way in this sector. "

Harry Boyd-Carpenter from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stressed that the EBRD today signed a EUR 18 million loan for the other wind power plant in Kitka. According to Boyd-Carpenter, RES are progressing rapidly, both technologically and price wise. Moreover, RES are considered a safe, low-price form of energy that also provides carbon-tax protection. These resources are sustainable when prices are stable and transparent.

Arbnor Kastrati, representative from AKUO Energy, said that "This topic is important not only to us as stakeholders. The energy sector needs to change and it is good news that in Kosovo there is a positive move in this direction. There is little existing capacity and definitely there needs to be more. How much is the impact on the final consumer is important and there should be more awareness when we consider whether we get energy from coal or from green energy. "

Learta Hollaj from the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) said that feed-in tariffs were reasonable at the time they were introduced. However Hollaj called for other mechanisms to be instated that stimulate more investment in the sector, such as auctions and premiums, end they should be implemented. In the Western Balkans region, Montenegro, Albania and Macedonia have just started implementing these mechanisms so it is reasonable for Kosovo to continue on the same path.

Ymer Fejzullahu from the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) stressed that in Kosovo due to problems and the lack of funding we have problems and we still need a form of subsidy for the RES technology. According to Fejzullahu, there is no right for an investor to have two forms of subsidies, this is not allowed. If a company receives strategic investor status and receives a grant, it cannot accept the feed-in tariff. "Consultative Reports are open to all, reasonable recommendations are taken into account and the Board of ERO makes the decisions. The scheme must be competitive and auctions are definitely the best form. These guarantee the viability of this scheme",Fejzullahu added.

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