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Budva, Montenegro, 15 November 2023 – At the launch conference, 80 participants from the Western Balkans’ electricity sector and international partners gathered, marking the beginning of a new regional project, the “Green Agenda: Decarbonisation of the Electricity Sector”. This event brought together key stakeholders, experts, and decision-makers in the sector and represents a significant step in the region’s journey towards a greener and more sustainable energy sector. The launch emphasized the theme of transforming the energy landscape, acquainting participants with the project’s approach and objectives, and fostering a common understanding among NAT participants in the electricity sector of Western Balkan regarding shared challenges and solutions in energy transition. The discussions centred on identifying opportunities for regional collaboration to explore and learn about technological solutions for renewable energy grid integration and the creation of a conducive regulatory framework for renewables.

The conference provided a platform for the presentation of state-of-the-art technologies and solutions for renewable energy grid integration by German and international experts in the electricity sector. Expert inputs shed light on critical topics, including the relationship between regulators and licensees in renewables integration and smart grid innovations. Participants were encouraged to participate in discussions and explore common ground in the Western Balkans’ energy transition, reflecting on the interconnected energy sector of the Western Balkans. The scaling up of grid connections for renewables and the role of distribution systems networks and operators in the energy transition were also discussed and reflected on. The conference was concluded with the formation of thematical groups where grid operators, regulators and energy utilities should jointly identify and develop solutions for renewables grid integration with the technical assistance of the German Federal Government implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

“When people think about green energy, they all have wind turbines and solar roof tops in mind. Few would ever consider power lines, control centres or transforming stations as something relevant. That is for us and the project partners to change,” said Nicolas Heger, Project Manager in GIZ.

Ivana Marković-Bošković, Senior Expert on Green Agenda at the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), emphasised that achieving the Green Agenda’s objectives in the Western Balkans necessitates ongoing efforts to boost and diversify the share of renewable energy. “It also involves implementing economically sustainable support schemes and promoting self-consumption of energy from renewable sources. RCC is pleased to note an increased interest from our partners, including GIZ in launching a growing number of regional projects that contribute significantly to fortifying the Western Balkans as it progresses towards realizing the goals set out by the Green Agenda”, she added.

Marcus Merkel, Senior Advisor to the Board of Management of EWE NETZ GmbH, an innovative German distribution system operator, accentuated the role of the power distribution systems to support the energy transition within the EU and on member-state level: „This is a great challenge, for example, more than 70% off all new renewable capacities in the EU27+UK would be connected to those grids. Thus, distribution system operators have to build the backbone for further electrification and represent the main integrators of renewable energy sources”.

This three-year initiative is committed to catalysing an energy transition centred on renewables and their swift integration into the power grids.

The primary objective of the project is to meet the growing demand in the regional electricity sector for renewables by providing the solutions related to technology, regulations, and human resources to facilitate an eco-friendly energy transition. It emphasizes innovation by regional cooperation, keeping participants informed about cutting-edge technological solutions transforming the electricity sector with joint solutions for the Western Balkans region.

GIZ support includes regional exchange to empower Western Balkans, addressing shared challenges in the green energy transition with common solutions prepared by the electricity sector. The project strives to speed up the progress by finding efficient ways of renewables grid connection, offering support for project development with other international partners.

Together with partner organisations, education and training opportunities are emphasized to cultivate a workforce for green job opportunities in the transition to renewable energy.

The Green Agenda project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and implemented by GIZ.

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