Saturday, January 28, 2023

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Serbia goes East for Renewables? Minister meets Chinese Ambassador to discuss major energy projects

Last week, the Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubravka Đedović met with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Chen Bo, to discuss energy projects in Serbia and opportunities for further cooperation, particularly in renewable energy.

In the past few weeks, senior Serbian government officials have spoken with representatives from several countries and international organisations – including Norway, Azerbaijan, the European Commission, the EBRD and the World Bank.

At the meeting with the Chinese Ambassador, it was ‘noted’ that the bilateral cooperation between the two sides in the field of mining and energy is at a ‘very high level’. According to the press release, Chinese companies employ more than 7,000 workers in the mining sector alone.

Minister Đedović updated Ambassador Bo on the progress of the construction of ‘Kostolac B3’, an extension project of the Kostolac thermal power plant. The project is being implemented by the Chinese company, CMEC. “We are waiting for the last contingent of key equipment for the first telecom power plant to be built in the Republic of Serbia after 30 years. It is one of the largest construction sites in the energy sector, a project that will greatly contribute to the stability of the electricity supply,” said the Minister.

Serbia’s future renewable energy partnership

Ambassador Chen Bo congratulated Minister Đedović on her appointment and expressed her hope that the cooperation between the two countries, especially in the sector of renewable energy sources, will be further developed. “The prospects and opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy transformation are great, bearing in mind the potential of the Republic of Serbia and the interest of companies from the People’s Republic of China to invest in new energy capacities that use RES,” the Ambassador emphasised.  

Earlier this month, the Serbian Mining and Energy Minister said that her country is “preparing strategic plans to increase the participation of renewable energy sources and get closer to the goals of the Green Agenda of the European Union”, during a recent meeting with the Norwegian delegation.

At a subsequent meeting in the Norwegian capital, Minster Đedović said: “Our first goal, which we are working on with Norwegian partners, is to stabilise the energy system in the next two years. In this sense, with enormous efforts, certain good results are already visible. The second goal is medium-term, planning the energy transition in such a way that by 2030 we have more renewable energy sources in the system, from wind, solar and hydro capacities. The third and final is the decarbonisation of the energy sector and the stability of the energy system until 2050”.

Going forward, it will be interesting to observe the re-shaping of Serbia’s energy landscape – with ‘strategic plans’ towards a regulatory alignment with the EU, as well as energy cooperation with Norway, whilst maintaining a ‘very high level’ of energy cooperation with China.

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