Serbia (at that time part of Yugoslavia) became a member of the World Energy Council in 1924. As one of the WEC’s founders, the Yugoslav World Energy Council Member Committee, including high federal government officials and leading experts in all energy sectors, was active all the time both on local and international scene. At present the Serbian World Energy Council member committee is continuing this practice. Its membership (individuals from governmental institutions, universities, scientific institutes, energy industries and consulting and other companies, as well as from professional associations in the energy field as the MC collective members) takes an active part in all energy related matters in the country.
Dr. Nenad Djajić, chair of the Serbian Member Committee of the World Energy Council, is Professor Emeritus at the Mining and Geology Faculty of Belgrade University. In parallel to teaching students, he has gained experience in solving complex energy problems, including energy strategies, studies and projects in energy efficiency, spatial planning, municipal energy, modelling and balancing energy-producing processes and promotion of renewables. Dr Djajic is the vice-chairman of the Serbian Scientific Society, a full member of the Serbian Academy of Engineering Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of journal “Energy”. He is the author of 3 university textbooks and 4 monographs, as well as of more than 470 papers. He took part in more of 230 studies and projects in the field of energy and reviewed 19 university textbooks and monographs. As a participant of many international and local conferences, he presented papers on the sustainable development energy in Serbia, the optimum structure of final energy consumption, improved energy efficiency and use of local energy sources.
Dr Miodrag Mesarović, Secretary General of the Serbian WEC Member Committee, is a Senior Advisor in Energoprojekt Entel Consulting Engineers Co. in Belgrade. He graduated from the Electrical Engineering Faculty University of Belgrade, and specialized in nuclear technology in Sweden and France. He holds a doctorate of Technical Sciences from the Mechanical Engineering faculty of the University of Belgrade. His professional experience includes local and international energy projects’ planning and design, nuclear safety and environmental protection, as well as strategic energy sector development planning, energy economy, and financing in the energy sector. He was an invited lecturer for postgraduate studies at several universities of former Yugoslavia. Dr Mesarovic is a full member of the Serbian Academy of Engineering Sciences and chair of the Academy's Energy Board. He is chair of the Scientific Board of the Serbian Association of Thermal Engineers, as well as member of the Board of the Serbian Nuclear Society and a member of the Serbian National Committee of CIGRE. Dr Mesarovic is author of over 270 scientific and professional papers, as well as many monographs and university textbooks.
Energy in Serbia
Energy is one of the largest sectors of the Serbian economy, consisting of oil and natural gas, coal, the electric power system, a decentralised municipal district heating system and industrial energy. Serbia is self-sufficient in electricity due to its lignite reserves and hydropotential. However, Serbia relies at about 90% dependence on imports of liquid and gaseous fuels (the overall import dependence is of the order of 30%). Domestic lignite keeps the major share in the Serbian primary energy mix and it is the major contributor towards CO2 emissions.
Although in decline, the share of lignite in the primary energy consumption will remain dominant according to the Serbian Energy Strategy to 2030. The share of oil is also expected to decline, while the share of natural gas, biomass, hydropower and other renewables are expected to rise. In the final energy consumption, oil derivatives are the primary supply, followed by electricity, heat energy, firewood, coal and natural gas. Households consume more than a third of energy (almost a half of electricity), followed by industry and transport. Energy intensity in Serbia is about four times higher when compared to European Union (EU) countries. As such, it offers potential for energy efficiency improvements.
As Serbia is a signatory country of the Energy Community, and as it is currently in the accession process to the EU, the country is requested to considerably improve energy efficiency, environmental protection and increase the share of renewable energy sources. A great part of these processes is already in progress, according to the adopted action plans and the Program for Implementation of the Energy Strategy to 2023. To enhance the investment in renewables, the Government has recently extended the validity of the existing Decree on feed-in tariffs for subsidising electricity until the end of 2019. The Government also continues to negotiate with neighbouring countries for new pipeline connections to ensure security of gas supply. The low carbon strategy and action plan are under development and the draft law on climate change is expected to be passed by the Parliament by the end of 2018.
Regional Integration is one of the priorities for Serbia to increase security of energy supply for consumers, but there is still great uncertainty around this issue. The electric power transmission interconnections with neighbouring systems are rising and getting stronger, but this is not the case with natural gas pipelines. Serbia is 100% dependent on a single gas supply from Russia via Ukraine, and this exposes the country to a constant worry of the risk of the “gas transition contract” (due to expire in 2019) not being extended. To find other means of gas import after the “South Stream” project was abandoned, Serbia is negotiating new gas pipeline connection to the “Turkish Stream” via Bulgaria.
With its traditional forms of energy generation and use, Serbia is not proving resilient to Climate Change. This puts a particular uncertainty on the coal fired electricity generation as the largest CO2 emitter in the country. Through its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution submitted to the United Nations, Serbia declared its commitment to reduce greenhouse emissions by 9.8% (compared to 1990 emissions) by 2030. To comply with the goals of the Climate Framework on preventing global warming, Serbia is currently developing its strategy and action plan on low carbon economy, while the Law on climate change is ready for adoption by the end of 2018.
With the growing decentralisation in energy sector, the use of IoT/Blockchain technology in Serbia is in delay. Although the technology is well understood, its implementation is uncertain due to ambiguity about future distributed energy supply and behavioural changes. The use of IoT/Blockchain in distribution network lags behind the rate of use of small-distributed units, particularly small hydro and PV solar. The uncertainty in this case comes from the lack of investment and low regulated price of electricity for existing residential customers, who use about a half of the total national electricity consumption.
Serbia’s economy is highly energy-intensive, consuming 2.7 times more energy per unit of output than an average OECD country or nearly four times as much as the EU average. Serbia adopted National Energy Efficiency action plan with the goal to achieve 9% of savings in the energy consumption in 2018 as compared to 2008. However, the incentives to save energy are limited due to low regulated electricity price, which does not reflect the costs of generation and delivery. The priority is to separate social policy from the prices and to implement EU directives on end-use efficiency, energy services and energy labelling.
Electricity production in Serbia relies around 70% on coal. To comply with the European standards, some of the coal powered thermal power plants will have to be shut down in the near future, while the rest will all have environmental protection systems installed to continue operation. Some measures for reducing harmful emissions from coal plants have been taken and others are being planned. However, there remain concerns about climate change issues related to burning coal.
Serbia has planned to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 27% by 2020. The bulk of renewable electricity will come from wind (planned 500 MW, half of which will be on line in 2018), while solar potential remains under-utilised (10MW). However, no new large hydropower plants have been built, while some small hydropower plants start to cause concerns regarding their location. The country’s commitment to have 10% of biofuel in transportation remains questionable, but biomass use is gradually increasing as a waste-to-energy cogeneration facility has recently been contracted and as a number of heating plants are incorporating biomass as a fuel.
The last months of 2018 have been marked by uncertainty about the Serbian regulatory framework and incentives for renewable energy sources. The existing Decree on feed-in tariffs for electricity produced from renewable energy sources and efficient cogeneration was set to expire at the end of the year. The issue is being treated as an Action Priority as the Energy Community Secretariat reported possible delay in reaching the 27% share of renewables in 2020. The Secretariat requested that Serbia changed regulations to enable introduction of auctions instead. The Government has extended the existing Decree until the end of 2019 to allow ongoing renewable energy projects to complete and encourage investment in new ones.
Serbia must increase security of gas supply by extending its regional connections. In the power generation sector, the country needs to refurbish and increase efficiency of its coal fired power plants which will remain in operation after 2023, including the incorporation of due environmental protection systems to meet the EU standards. To address the global warming issue, Serbia will enact the Law on Climate Change and implement the low-carbon strategy in energy and other sectors. Efforts are needed to increase energy efficiency and to achieve the 27% share of renewables in gross final energy consumption by 2020, including 10% share of biofuels in transportation.