Price panic risks derailing Western Balkans’ energy transition

Regional policymakers are making a mistake if they use soaring energy prices in the EU to justify a continued commitment to fossil fuel, and divert from energy transition commitments.

Power plant Kosovo A in the village of Obilic, Kosovo Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Millions of Europeans who arrived late to work or school have a good excuse an unprecedented slowing of the frequency of the continent’s electricity grid. The Brussels-based European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, or ENTSO-E, said Wednesday the problem began mid-January and affects 25 countries, from Portugal to Poland and Greece to Germany. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

The EU is currently looking into short and medium-term solutions to limit the impact of soaring energy prices on households and businesses for the upcoming winter, identifying measures to ensure the resilience and flexibility of the EU’s energy system.

Clearly, renewables, which have low operational costs and no fuel costs, are the only solution.

While ramping up coal production for this winter may look like saving citizens from increased bills, this is still accounted for through heavy subsidies and health costs and the reliance on fossil fuels must end.

The volatility and unreliability of fossil gas underpins the importance of clean and just energy transition, not only from the environmental perspective, but for cost effectiveness as well, due to the high subsidies and profit losses that utility companies in the region experience.

It is time the Western Balkans embraced technology, committed to its policy strategies and plans and used market solutions to put its energy transition on track – for the benefit of its own citizens, and so staying on the path towards decarbonisation by 2050.

Viktor Berishaj is a Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for Southeast Europe at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

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