3 December 2015 Seventh meeting of the Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum
Thursday, 3 December 2015
Seventh Meeting of the Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum
The Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum held its seventh meeting 3 December, in cooperation with the German International Cooperation Institute (GIZ), to discuss the experiences and potential funding models for projects aimed at improving energy efficiency in building design and construction in the Republic of Serbia.
Opening the meeting, the Chairperson of the Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum Prof. Dr Aleksandra Tomic stressed that the rising energy needs and prices compel us to discuss the burning issue of rational energy use and improvement of energy efficiency.
On the occasion, Tomic reminded the participants that the Parliament had already passed laws on rational energy use and defined the budget, and opined that today is the right moment to hear how developed countries have regulated the funding system for this economic branch and how it could be applied in Serbia.
The participants were also addressed by National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Forum member Veroljub Arsic who said that efficient production of energy from available and renewable sources, with planned and cost effective placement, can be instated through a sustainable energy system. He stressed that a strategic approach to energy production is the way to reduce environmental threats and economic cost. “World energy standards for the most part hinge on energy efficiency, which is a relatively new area for Serbia that requires some investment into change, but at the same time offers the chance to become competitive with developed countries. This issue means the development of new industry, new equipment, new jobs and employment of new people, as well as economic growth”, said Arsic, concluding that the Republic of Serbia would accept these obligations, adjust to the EU energy policy, and draw up ambitious goals concerning the proportion of renewable energy sources in the overall consumption of electric power and growing energy efficiency.
Speaking on the behalf of the Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure, Radojko Obradovic first said how pleased he was with the fact that the issue discussed today has garnered so much interest at the National Assembly and other levels of governance. “When energy efficiency was first discussed, three questions emerged as the most crucial: is it a need or an obligation thrust on us or an extravagance. In time it turned out that energy, which we import, is very much a need and that we should use it rationally because it is diminishing, and we have a responsibility not only toward energy and finance, but the environment as well”, concluded Obradovic, commending the active efforts of the Forum Chairperson and members and the National Assembly in the process, because, he said, improving energy efficiency is a priority.
Renate Schindlbeck, leader of GIZ project Energy Efficiency in Buildings, said she was pleased to be able to speak about this issue at the National Assembly today and that she expected the discussion to contribute to the development of new financial scenarios for the improvement of energy efficiency in Serbia.
She said that in the EU, buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption, and the introduction of energy efficiency in buildings would lower that number by about 5%. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that EU member states are developing different models and financial support methods to improve energy efficiency in building design and construction, which a big challenge in Serbia because currently the country’s energy consumption is four times higher than the EU average.
“Serbia depends on importing energy which makes energy efficiency one of its most important developmental potentials”, said Schindlbeck, stressing that it would have an immense impact on different aspects of the economy.
“According to rough estimates, the rehabilitation of buildings to achieve minimum energy efficiency standards would cost several billion euros, and this type of project cannot be funded by the end users alone. EU countries have developed different mechanisms and funds to boost energy efficiency in buildings and it is clear from their structure and potential how important the role of the government is in achieving the goal of energy saving and reducing CO2 emissions”, opined Renate Schindlbeck.
The participants were also addressed by Dan Staniaszek of the Building Performance Institute Europe who spoke about available European Funds, and Dr Mihajlo Babin and Milos Eric of the Group for Development Policies (Faculty of Economics, Finance and Administration (FEFA) who presented financial models for the rehabilitation of the existing buildings and the experiences of 12 European countries, which was followed by a discussion.
In addition to the Chairperson of the Serbian Parliamentary Energy Policy Forum Prof. Dr Aleksandra Tomic, National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Forum member Veroljub Arsic also took part in the discussion.