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Western Balkans committed to clean energy transition

Western Balkans committed to clean energy transition
Published date 21.02.2019 21:35 | Author PR Service

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PR ServicePodgorica, Montenegro (21 February 2019) -- Earlier today, ministers of the Western Balkan countries signed a joint statement pledging to switch to clean energy in the region. This confirmed the ambition to foster decarbonisation, renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will strengthen the Western Balkans' path towards the European Union. This has been achieved thanks to the cooperation with all relevant stakeholders such as the Energy Community, civil society organisations and international financial institutions.

"Today, we will have the opportunity to learn more about sustainable energy development in the European Union, about benefits of sustainable hydroelectric power, what are the options for decarbonisation and coal representation, and discuss the impact of sustainable development on air quality, health and resource efficiency. We will also discuss the potentials of our region in the area of ​​energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as ways to improve the regional electricity market," Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić said at the opening of the conference "Clean Energy Transition in the Western Balkans."

"Montenegro has incredible hydrological potential, with over 95 watercourses formed on its territory. To date, we have used only 20% of this potential. If we manage to make use of the gifts of nature in waters, wind and about 250 sunny days a year, our country will not be energy dependent in the future. This response should be carried out with respect to regulations in this and the field of environment," said Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism Pavle Radulović.

"Today's Joint Statement is a positive signal of regional commitment to the decarbonisation of the Western Balkans. Clean and secure energy will enable the creation of new jobs, significant savings in national budgets and clear health benefits that the citizens of the region deserve, "said European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn.

Energy and environment ministers of the countries of the Western Balkans agreed to comply with the energy and climate policies and EU goals as soon as possible.

Political commitment at such a high level should ease the intention of the Western Balkan countries to reduce their energy dependence and solve the problem of unsustainable energy use. This will require the development of sustainable energy sources such as renewable energy sources (solar energy, wind, geothermal energy, biomass and hydro power) and a decisive action aimed at supporting energy efficiency.

Therefore, the European Union today pledged to provide EUR 30 million, in addition to the existing Energy Efficiency Regional Programme worth EUR 50 million, which helps households and public institutions reduce energy consumption and save money.

Today's event will also enable solving the problem of air pollution, one of the main ecological problems in the region. The Health and the Environment Alliance (HEAL) has previously pointed out that increasing air purity will have a positive impact on citizens' health and will bring savings to the national budgets of the countries of the region, between 1.9 and 3.6 billion euros a year.