Serbia’s Mining and Energy Ministry announced on Tuesday (6 November) that it has launched, in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the “Public ESCO Project” to improve energy efficiency in residential buildings connected to district heating systems and switch to billing based on thermal energy consumption.
The programme will provide grants to cover the costs of preparing energy efficiency reports and relevant studies for residential communities, as well as 50 per cent of the investment value. The remaining 50 per cent of the investment would be repaid by the residents themselves through the heating bill, the ministry said in a press release.
Throughout the investment’s repayment, the total amount of the annual expenditure for heating and repayment of the investment will be taken into account, ensuring that it does not exceed or minimally exceed the value of the bill that residents paid annually under the lump-sum system before the energy refurbishment.
Public calls for applications of interested housing communities in 16 cities and municipalities are currently being prepared. Thus far, public invitations have been issued in seven local governments in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac, Pirot, Užice, Vranje and Trstenik. It is expected that public invitations will soon be announced in Čačak, Jagodina, Kraljevo, Negotin, Niš, Novi Pazar, Pančevo, Valjevo and Zrenjanin, the ministry said in the press release.
The project is valued at 64.5 million euros, of which 50 million euros comes from an EBRD loan, with the remaining 14.5 million euros coming from donations.
It is estimated that more than 500 residential buildings, with an area of around one million square metres, will be renovated as part of the project. Additionally, the implementation of energy efficiency measures is expected to translate to energy savings of more than 35 per cent, that is 81,000 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, alongside an annual carbon emissions reduction of 20,000 tons.