Covering the Balkans in Soot: The New European Energy Community Strategy Favours Fossil Fuel Reliance
Brussels — Neighbouring countries of the EU from the Western Balkans to Ukraine are planning unsustainable energy futures relying on coal and nuclear. An energy strategy for the region to be approved Thursday by the European Energy Community indicates that such investments in dirty fuels could happen with EU support and financing.
17 October 2012
Brussels — Neighbouring countries of the EU from the Western Balkans to Ukraine are planning unsustainable energy futures relying on coal and nuclear. An energy strategy for the region to be approved Thursday by the European Energy Community (1) indicates that such investments in dirty fuels could happen with EU support and financing.
In eight non-EU countries members of the Energy Community – whose goal is to align the members with the EU energy market and policies – it is envisaged that at least 45 percent of the energy capacities to be installed in the next decade will come from lignite, the dirtiest of fossil fuels. If sizeable Ukraine is taken into account, then coal will represent “merely” 32 percent of the new capacity, with hydro accounting for 42 percent and nuclear for another 10 percent. With or without Ukraine, renewables apart of hydro will not surpass 10 percent of the newly installed capacity.
In total, for the period 2012-2020/2021, the planned new installed capacity in the Western Balkans and Moldova is estimated to reach 13.23 GW, an increase of 64 percent as compared to 2009.
“This strategy does not serve the people in the region,” comments Anelia Stefanova, CEE Bankwatch Network Campaigns Director. “Even more, it actually contradicts the founding principles of the Energy Community as it disregards energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, the best alternative for the development of the energy sector from an economic, social and environmental point of view.”
“The Strategy sums up national energy plans in a very matter of fact way, as if it was absolutely fine that a whole region full of countries aspiring to become EU members planned to significantly increase energy production from dirty sources,” Stefanova adds. “But the Energy Community, which also has the EU itself as a member, cannot accept such plans and, what’s worse, support them to get financing from EU sources.”
Such plans for the energy sector would prevent these countries which aspire to become EU members from moving towards the European goal of decarbonising economies by 2050. Furthermore, the new strategy supports the construction of regional energy transport infrastructure that will be primarily used for exports from the neighbouring countries to the EU despite some of these countries being unable to meet their own energy needs.
These plans must be reconsidered, argues Bankwatch, and countries be encouraged to become more resilient by shifting their energy mixes towards local renewable sources.
CEE Bankwatch Network alongside other regional NGOs (2) are now calling on the Ministerial Council of the European Energy Community and on the European Commission not to approve the energy strategy for the region in the current form in which it will be put to vote on Oct. 18 but instead order that a Strategic Environmental Assessment be conducted on the strategy (3). Additionally, as no proper public consultation has been organised during the elaboration of the current strategy, Bankwatch and its partners are calling for a proper involvement of stakeholders in the issuing of a next version of this strategy that has a significant impact on the energy futures of both the EU and its neighbours.
Notes for the editor:
(1) The European Energy Community is a community established in 2005 between the EU and a number of third countries in order to extend the EU internal energy market to Southeast Europe and beyond. With their signatures, the Contracting Parties commit themselves to implement the relevant EU acquis communautaire, to develop an adequate regulatory framework and to liberalise their energy markets in line with the acquis under the Treaty.
*Members: EU, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldova, Kosovo, plus Ukraine.
More about the strategy to be adopted here:
A draft of the strategy can be made available by Bankwatch upon request.
For more information, contact:
CEE Bankwatch Campaigns Director
anelias AT bankwatch.org
CEE Bankwatch Research Coordinator
pippa.gallop AT bankwatch.org
+385 99 755 9787
Never miss an update
We expose the risks of international public finance and bring critical updates from the ground – straight to your inbox.