EU’s Balkan Energy Strategy Queried
23 October 2012, Balkan Insight
Western Balkan countries face a future that relies too much on coal and nuclear power, the Green watchdog Bankwatch says .
Romania has announced plans to restart an auction for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at its sole nuclear plant in Cernavoda, on the Danube.
The country is in urgent need of new sources of power, or it may face power shortages and rising costs.
The same problem affects the Western Balkan states, which risk having unsustainable energy futures, according to environmental organizations.
The European Energy Community – a community comprising the EU, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Kosovo and Ukraine – is to approve a strategy that relies too much on coal and nuclear power, they say.
It is envisaged that around a third of the energy capacities to be installed over the next decade will come from coal, while hydropower will account for 42 per cent and nuclear power for another 10 per cent, according to the strategy.
Less than 10 per cent of the newly installed capacity will come from renewables.
Green NGOs complain that the energy efficiency targets included in the regional energy strategy are low, compared to the existing opportunities in the area.
“This strategy does not serve the people in the region,” Anelia Stefanova, from the Bankwatch Network, says.
“It actually contradicts the founding principles of the Energy Community, as it disregards energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, the best alternatives for the development of the energy sector from an economic, social and environmental point of view.”
Bankwatch, in its own words, “works across the central and eastern European region to monitor the activities of international financial institutions and propose constructive environmental and social alternatives to the policies and projects they support.”
The region’s energy plans should be reconsidered, Bankwatch says, and countries encouraged to shift their energy mixture towards local renewable sources.
Analysts agree that the countries from Central and Eastern Europe need new ways to generate power.
“Considering the increasing demand for energy in the region, there is an urgent need for new investors and new projects,” economic analyst Ilie Serbanescu said.
“Of course, the focus should be on renewables, mainly on wind and solar capacities, but it is not always easy to have them,” he added.