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Serbia signs Memorandum of Understanding with USAID on energy efficiency

The Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, setting out plans to cooperate on improving energy efficiency in Serbia, the Serbian Ministry announced.

The memorandum was signed at the Nikola Tesla Museum by the Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Đedović and the Director of the USAID mission in Serbia, Brooke Asham.

“By cooperating with USAID on the Better Energy project, we will work to further enthrone energy efficiency as a new source of energy, through the development of mechanisms for increasing energy efficiency measures, monitoring and controlling results, but also through comprehensive education of the population and raising awareness about the fact that wasting energy is absolutely unacceptable, especially at the time of the global energy crisis,” said the Serbian Energy and Mining Minister. “Stimulative measures of the Government regarding the rational use of energy have so far produced excellent results. Savings in electricity consumption in October amounted to 15 per cent, in November 7 per cent, while citizens used 9.4 per cent less electricity in December than in the same month of 2021.”

“In this way, almost 1.4 million households, meaning 44 per cent, obtained the right to a discount, mostly in Belgrade, Šabac, Novi Sad, Sombor and Niš. It is important that we continue with the education of citizens and the economy, so that we can all benefit from the rational use of energy and energy sources,” added Minister Đedović.

The USAID Better Energy program, worth 10 million US dollars (9.18 million euros), was launched in late 2021 and is focused on helping improve energy efficiency at the municipal level and increasing the use of renewable energy sources, as stated in a press release by the Mining and Energy Ministry. The program is already being implemented in several cities across Serbia, including Niš, Sombor, Valjevo, Knjaževac and Pančevo.

The signing of the Memorandum is also the start of a joint program of educating the population on energy efficiency. The joint educational campaign is designed to “help households reduce energy consumption and save money” through practical advice on lowering energy consumption, according to the press release.

“The energy transition is the transition of the entire society, not just its segments. In the middle of the energy transition are the citizens, who are the main consumers of energy. Educating and informing citizens, as well as building capacity for energy efficiency in all new buildings, establishing a sustainable financing mechanism and creating a safety net program for those who need it, are essential parts of a successful energy transition,” said Lena Bratić, USAID Project Director of the “Better Energy” program.

In Serbia, around 50 per cent of final energy consumption is consumed in households, public and commercial sectors. The average consumption of thermal energy per m2 per year is about two times higher than the EU average. Households, especially residential buildings, represent the biggest challenge for improving energy efficiency, according to the press release.

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