The Western Balkans cling to coal [Gas in Transition]

Summary

With vested interests, coal remains the dominant energy source in the Western Balkan region. [Gas in Transition, Volume 2, Issue 2]

by: Tim Gosling

Tensions have increased in recent months in the Western Balkans; the result of longstanding challenges including political instability, nationalism, corruption and geopolitical competition. It is therefore not surprising that the region is struggling to make progress in achieving an energy transition. With vested interests, coal remains the overwhelmingly dominant energy source. All countries in the region are clinging to the dark substance, despite EU urgings to get to work. Even the 2020 signing of the Sofia Accord, which binds the six countries to align with the bloc’s Green Deal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, appears to have done little to speed up the process. It is the task of the Energy Community to try to push the rules and principles of the EU energy market across the region, driven by the ambition of the six states to join the bloc . But economic and political realities make this task difficult. “The energy disparities between the EU and the Western Balkan countries are only growing, with many still dependent on heavily polluting coal-fired power stations that provide cheap electricity as well as revenues to governments and local people,” said Energy Community Director Janez Kopac. said last year. Regional generation capacity may be old and polluting – the region’s 16 coal-fired power plants produce more…

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