Biomass – The most significat source of renewable energy in Serbia
Of all renewable energy sources in Serbia, which include hydro energy, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal sources, biomass has the greatest available potential, with about 61% participation, and its importance is especially great in the agricultural sector – it was pointed out at the final conference of the Project dedicated to the reduction of barriers to the accelerated development of the biomass market in Serbia, which has been implemented since 2014 by the Ministry of Mining and Energy and the United Nations Development Program, UNDP.
Participants pointed out that the price of technologies that provide renewable energy is constantly falling, and that renewable sources are becoming competitive with fossil fuels. In addition to reducing the risk of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, investments in renewables create new jobs, stimulate economic growth and improve energy security.
This project contributed to improving the legal and institutional framework, increasing the skills and knowledge of the actors involved and supporting investments for the construction of plants for combined heat and power production from biogas, thus increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix in Serbia, especially biomass. According to Steliane Nedere, acting UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia: “Two key and concrete results of the project are: 6 plants for combined production of electricity and heat with a total capacity of 6.32 megawatts were successfully supported, built, and put into operation, and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was ensured, in the amount of one million tons during the 20-year life cycle of these investments.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Mining and Energy as the main partner, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, in 2014 UNDP launched the project “Reducing Barriers to Accelerated Biomass Market Development in Serbia” funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP worth 3.15 million USD.
The project team contributed to the improvement in all segments of the biomass value chain, starting from the agricultural and forest biomass resource itself, through logistics, quality system and supply continuity, to security instruments and other aspects of importance for banking and competent institutions, finding and supporting investors, such as and only the use of energy from biomass. In addition to excellent cooperation with national partners and local governments, the Project financially supported six private companies to invest in combined heat and power from biogas (so-called CHP plants), which increased the total value of the Project to 30.5 million USD.
Through field visits, the students at the University of Belgrade and Novi Sad were introduced to the technology of biogas production and work of CHP plants, which gave our future experts practical knowledge in the innovative sector that is developing rapidly in the world.
Also, through joint activities, the Project partners have contributed to the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals, especially in terms of providing affordable and clean energy and creating sustainable cities and communities. Progress in achieving these Goals, European integration, and progress in achieving Serbia’s development priorities are inseparable, and the part of the same process.
The final conference of the Project was organized within the conference “Open Talks – New Opportunities for Sustainable Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Serbia”, by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
Global energy consumption will grow significantly, up to 40 % in the next two decades. The growth of energy needs, accompanied by economic development, contributes to the general well-being of society. However, conventional energy sources are not inexhaustible, and their use has a significant negative impact on the environment. Therefore, it is necessary to opt for sustainable energy, i.e., renewable energy sources and efficient use of energy in all consumption sectors, because that way the economy becomes more competitive and resistant to changes in the world market, while reducing the negative impact of the energy sector on the environment.