NEWS Kammen & Kittner in The Economist: ‘Energy in the Balkans’


Energy in the Balkans

One crit­i­cal way to expe­dite EU inte­gra­tion of the Balkans (“Knock­ing on Heav­ens Door”, August 29th) is to start by build­ing an inte­grated energy sys­tem com­pli­ant with EU envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions. The pro­posed coal-​​fired power plant in Kosovo remains a prime exam­ple of a project that could set back EU acces­sion by decades. Rely­ing on lig­nite coal for elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion in the region is not sus­tain­able for the envi­ron­ment or pub­lic health. Link­ing elec­tric­ity mar­kets to take advan­tage of load bal­anc­ing through hydropower projects in Alba­nia and by cre­at­ing a regional low-​​carbon roadmap will require sig­nif­i­cant cooperation—leadership traits that go hand-​​in-​​hand with join­ing the EU.

As the region expects to retire coal capac­ity in the com­ing decade, an oppor­tu­nity emerges for a new energy sys­tem to jump­start the lag­ging econ­omy and enable a sus­tain­able tran­si­tion to the EU. How­ever, new pro­posed coal plants in Ser­bia, Mon­tene­gro, and Kosovo con­flict with that vision. With Mon­tene­gro and Ser­bia expected to accede by 2020 and 2022, respec­tively, envi­ron­men­tal and health con­sid­er­a­tions should become a pri­or­ity to avoid fur­ther costs. Build­ing a sus­tain­able energy sys­tem is essen­tial for eco­nomic growth in the Balkan region.

Pro­fes­sor and Direc­tor of the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory
Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley


Distributed energy and information (satellite TV) in Prizren, Kosovo

Dis­trib­uted energy and infor­ma­tion (satel­lite TV) in Prizren, Kosovo

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