Of all the renewable energy sources in Serbia, consisting of hydro energy, biomass energy, wind power, solar and geothermal sources, biomass has the biggest potential, with the share of around 61%, while it's importance is especially significant in the agriculture sector – it was pointed out at the final conference of the project dedicated to reducing barriers for accelerated development of biomass market in Serbia, which has since 2014 been jointly implemented by the Ministry of Mining and Energy and UNDP.
The participants have pointed out that the cost of technologies in use for obtaining renewable energy is in constant decline, and that the renewables are becoming competitive with fossil fuels. Apart from reducing the risk from climate changes through reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, investments in renewables create new jobs, foster economic growth, and improve energy efficiency.
This project has contributed to improving the legal and institutional framework, improving the skills and knowledge of stakeholders, and provided support to investments in construction of plants for combined heat and power generation from biogas, thereby increasing the share of renewable energy in Serbian energy mix, especially energy obtained from biomass. According to Ms. Steliana Nedera, acting Resident Representative of UNDP in Serbia, “Two key and concrete results of the project are: six biomass/biogas fired combined heat and power generation facilities of total installed capacity of 6.32 megawatts have been successfully supported, constructed and placed in operation, while reduction of emissions of equivalent CO2 expressed as direct result of project activities in an amount of one million tons during 20 years of the life-cycle of investments has been secured.”
In cooperation with the Ministry of Mining and Energy as the lead partner, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, in 2014 UNDP has started to implement the “Reducing Barriers to Accelerate the Development of Biomass Market in Serbia” project, financed by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP in the amount of 3.15 million USD. The project team has contributed to improvements in all segments of the biomass value chain, starting from the agricultural and woody biomass resource itself, over the logistics, quality system and supply continuity, through to the security instruments and other aspects of interest to banking and other competent institutions, identifying and supporting investors, as well as the usage of energy produced from biomass itself. Apart from an outstanding cooperation with national partners and local self-governances, the project has financially supported six private companies which have invested in biogas-fired combined heat and power generation plants (so-called CHP plants), bringing the overall value of the project to 30.5 million USD.
Students of Belgrade and Novi Sad universities had the chance to get acquainted with the biogas production technology and operation of CHP plants through field visits, which brought practical knowledge to these future experts in an innovative sector which is globally developing at a very fast pace. Through joint activities the project partners have contributed to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in the field of securing affordable and clean energy and creating sustainable towns and communities. The progress in achieving these goals, European integrations, and progress in realizing the development priorities of Serbia are inseparable, and a part of the same process.
The final conference of the project was organized within the scope of the “Hard Talk: New Possibilities for Developing Renewable Energy Sustainably in Serbia” conference, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Global energy consumption will increase significantly, by 40% within the next two decades. The growing energy needs followed by economic development contributes to general prosperity of a society. However, conventional energy sources are not inexhaustible, and their usage has a significant negative influence on the environment. This is why a shift towards sustainable energy, meaning renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency in all consumption sectors is necessary, as it enables the economy to become more competitive and resilient to changes in the global market, while also reducing the negative effects of the energy sector on environment.