Renewable Energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Trend or Imperative?

Renewable Energy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a Trend or Imperative?

The energy sector is one of the main sources of pollution. At the global level, carbon dioxide emissions, as a result of use of fossil fuels, generate 61% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to the threats relating to climate change, there are many very strong reasons for changing the classic way of generating energy. There

The energy sector is one of the main sources of pollution. At the global level, carbon dioxide emissions, as a result of use of fossil fuels, generate 61% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the threats relating to climate change, there are many very strong reasons for changing the classic way of generating energy. There is, first of all, reduction of world oil production, development of technologies for renewable energy and development of sophisticated energy efficiency measures. talked about the development perspective of renewable, especially wind power, with prominent university professor Mehmed Behmen, Ph.D., founder of measurements and studies of wind resources in BiH.

What is the current status of renewable energy in the overall energy sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina?

– Forecasts of the International Energy Agency predict, in their base scenario, annual growth in energy consumption of 1.6% and in case of failing to adopt new energy efficiency measures, the impact of such a scenario on the climate system of the planet could be catastrophic. The European Union has adopted an energy-climate package of policies and laws that are based on general objectives, the so-called 20-20-20 concept: the legally required 20% share of renewable energy sources by 2020 and 20% CO2 reduction while increasing energy efficiency by 20% over the same period. Thus, the amount of energy consumed in the future would decrease, not increase (e.g. the USA is asking for achieving the goal of 80% of “clean energy” by 2035).

It is important to note that one should not underestimate the importance of the renewable energy sources sector to the overall economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because KWh produced from TPPs and HPPs is equal to the kWh from renewable sources e.g. wind power. BiH is the only country in the region that produces a surplus in electricity, which represents a significant item in exports. Exports of electricity relieves the very pronounced deficit in the trade balance of the country.


What is it that needs to change in the energy policy of BiH so that renewable energy can be given the importance it deserves?

– Electricity production is around 1.55 billion euros, which makes about 30% of GDP at the state level. At the same time, in BiH about 2.5 times more energy per unit of gross domestic product is spent in comparison to the developed countries. Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a common energy policy or strategy for the planned approach to the development of the energy sector as an important segment of the economy. We still do not exploit various opportunities and offers of our own natural energy sources, and we do not perform the necessary diversification of production for the quality of the power system in general.

Electric Power Industries (EPBiH, ERS and EPHZHB) in Bosnia and Herzegovina shall primarily provide security of electricity supply to the domestic market, which until now has been realized through production in base power plants (thermal and large hydroelectric power plant) constructed long time ago. However, nowadays more attention is paid to renewable energy projects (small hydroelectric power plants and wind farms), and other sources of renewable energy and energy efficiency is left to initiatives of other energy companies.

Such an energy policy, as shown in these circumstances, can not give a good result because of the full political control and the
inertia of public enterprises, which is a limiting factor to development, which leads to delays in construction of new TPPs and HPPs, and finally renewable energy projects (WF). Not to mention the indirect effects – lack of development of domestic energy production and equipment intended for energy.


What are actually the potentials for job creation in the renewable energy sector in BiH?

– According to various expert meetings there has been new employment, e.g. in the field of wind energy, which shows an average of 2.5 jobs per megawatt installed in the EU, of which over 65 percent relates to equipment production. Since the potential in BiH is 1,200 MW, this means that there is a possible figure of around 3,000 jobs directly (in BiH 1.200) or 10,000 induced (BiH 3.500). There are considerable opportunities to create new jobs through the use of other renewable sources such as production of biofuels, with jobs in agriculture, transport, collection of secondary raw materials, or in cogeneration (heat and power from biomass), in production of pellets, briquettes and wood chips, with an estimate of around 700 direct and over 3,000 indirect jobs.

How do you see the current RES position over conventional sources?

– Economically, the production cost of electricity from RES is almost equal to that of conventional fossil fuel plants. In technological terms, there are certain difficulties in managing the supply e.g. with wind, but modern technical solutions and more accurate forecasts of production are solving the problem successfully. Another problem is that with independent producers (who are not part of the existing system) the selling price of kilowatt hour of renewable energy somewhat higher because these companies do not have in their portfolio already previously constructed plants that have been paid off multiple times (amortized) such as the state power industries, so they can not perform adjust the prices or offer a price at the average level of the system, which may be lower than the actual price from the plant. Therefore, all countries that assume international obligations and want to have it in their power system a share of renewable energy through a system of controlled prices (feed in tariffs) create conditions for the development and construction of renewable energy, as is the case with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to these principles, Denmark launched 18 years ago an industry with which it reduced its dependence on imported energy and simultaneously increased the participation of electricity from RES, at this moment, to almost 30%. additionally, there is the development of production of wind turbines (the famous Vestas, for example) with a high share on the world market.

How do you see the role of domestic public electric power industries and the domestic industry in the construction of renewable energy?

– Due to the overall state of awareness of the economic sector (philosophy of de-industrialization), as well as energy, i.e. the lack of knowledge of new ways of financing construction of power plants, only the electric power industries have been provided from the government the opportunities and conditions to start with the use of renewable energy (concessions, loans, etc.. ), which were supposed to use the priority appropriately in relation to the place and role of the energy sector in the society as a whole. Public power industries have taken over the development of dozens of wind energy projects and small hydroelectric power plants, so all that was available on a “cover-everything-you-can” principle, neglecting an enormous indebtedness of the state (currently solely about 350 million euros to the KfW bank), instead of building these projects through foreign direct investments, not burdening the state. The governing policies that control electric power industries dictate in this way the pace of development and implementation of projects and general development of the energy sector, which through various bureaucratic bravura in obtaining consent (concessions, grid connection, etc..), make the work of independent producers impossible.

Interview by: Elvira Kokor


Renewable Energy Projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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