NEWS Kosovo must do more for renewables, European Union says

April 27, 2017, PV News.

Kosovo must do more for renew­ables, Euro­pean Union says

Cit­ing a RAEL study, authored by Noah Kit­tner and Daniel Kam­men along with col­leagues from KOSID in Kosovo, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has said that Kosovo’s gov­ern­ment needs to increase efforts to improve its energy sys­tem, and to pro­vide more sup­port for renew­ables, although it has recently revised its energy (and renew­able energy) strat­egy up to 2020.



The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (EC) has said that Kosovo should make more invest­ments in the energy sec­tor, and add fur­ther gen­er­a­tion capac­ity from both ther­mal and renew­able energy sources, in order to become able to plan the decom­mis­sion­ing of the country’s two coal power plants, which cur­rently still cover almost all of its power demand.

In the report on Kosovo’s Eco­nomic Reform Pro­gramme for the period 2017–2019, pub­lished on the web­site of the Aus­trian Par­lia­ment, the EC said that the energy reforms recently imple­mented by the local gov­ern­ment are not suf­fi­cient to improve the country’s trou­bled power mar­ket, which still relies heav­ily on coal and elec­tric­ity imports.

Under its long-​​term energy strat­egy, which was approved last sum­mer, Kosovo is expected to add 240 MW of power gen­er­a­tion capac­ity from renew­ables, of which only 10 MW is for solar PV, while wind and bio­mass will account for 150 MW and 14 MW, respec­tively, with other renew­able sources account­ing for the remain­ing share.

Despite these plans, the local gov­ern­ment is cur­rently putting most of its efforts in the con­struc­tion of the new coal power plant “Kosova e Re”, an invest­ment that the EU itself con­sid­ers nec­es­sary to replace the 40-​​year old Kosovo A Power Sta­tion (345 MW) near Pristina, and upgrade the 27-​​year old lignite-​​fired Kosovo B Power Sta­tion (540 MW) in Obilić. The future Kosovo Power Project (600 MW), which is being backed by the World Bank, includes the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Kosovo B power plant, in order to bring it in com­pli­ance with EU standards.

Accord­ing to the EC, Kosovo’s energy mar­ket suf­fers from the above-​​mentioned out­dated pro­duc­tion capac­ity, as well as low energy effi­ciency, a non-​​liberalized energy mar­ket and a tar­iff sys­tem that does not reflect real costs. The EC added that it is not clear if recent reforms of the energy mar­ket are aligned with the reforms included in the Energy Strat­egy. “Progress in 2016”, the EC stressed, “was mainly lim­ited to leg­isla­tive mea­sures and the intro­duc­tion of some energy effi­ciency mea­sures.” The Com­mis­sion also stressed that cost esti­mates of the new planned actions for 2016, which include the future coal power plant, three unspec­i­fied solar projects, 20 hydropower facil­i­ties and two wind power instal­la­tions, “are very rough, and with­out a clear reg­u­la­tory frame­work.” The EC also spec­i­fied that all the work required by these actions was not done, except for the fea­si­bil­ity study for the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Kosovo B ther­mal power plant.

Accord­ing to a report from Kosovo’s Min­istry of Energy, solar had only a few hun­dred kW con­nected to the grid as of the end of 2015. The first solar PV projects with total installed capac­ity of 102.4 kilo­watt were brought online in 2014. Under the FIT pro­gram run by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture (MAFRD), 101 PV sys­tems total­ing 77 kW were installed in 2014, while fur­ther 135 instal­la­tions with a com­bined capac­ity of 364 kW came online in 2015.

Accord­ing to another report pub­lished in Envi­ron­men­tal Research Let­ters by sci­en­tists of Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley on the sci­en­tific research jour­nal IOP­science last year, at the end of 2015 the coun­try had around 3 MW of solar installed under the FIT scheme, which was issued in 2014. The pro­gram is grant­ing a 12-​​year FIT of €85 ($92.5)/MWh.

A strik­ing aspect of Kosovo is its sub­stan­tial solar energy resource, yet com­plete lack of devel­op­ment of solar power,” said the report’s authors. “It receives about 80% of Arizona’s solar inso­la­tion. That’s a higher level of sun­light than Ger­many, which has exten­sive solar energy facil­i­ties.” Kosovo, indeed, has a con­sid­er­able solar poten­tial with an aver­age of 278 sunny days and 2000 hours of sun per year.

The authors of IOPscience’s report also believe that dis­trib­uted renew­able and solar can bet­ter help Kosovo man­age the nec­es­sary growth of installed gen­er­a­tion capac­ity com­pared to large cen­tral­ized projects. While PV sys­tems can be installed incre­men­tally on a per kW or MW scale, a coal plant requires full com­mit­ment to hun­dreds of MW capac­ity dur­ing one invest­ment period, the report explains. “As demand for elec­tric­ity changes,” the US researchers said, “the deploy­ment of dis­trib­uted renew­ables pro­vides investors with increased flex­i­bil­ity to extend capac­ity in smaller sizes as to not leave the investor with large-​​scale stranded assets.”

With 2 mil­lion inhab­i­tants, Kosovo is still a dis­puted land between Repub­lic of Ser­bia, which claims it as it’s own ter­ri­tory after, and the Repub­lic of Kosovo. Cur­rently, 111 out of 193 mem­ber states of the United Nations have rec­og­nized Kosovo as an inde­pen­dent state.

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