Report Warns of Challenges in Western Balkans’ Energy Transition

A new report by Global Energy Monitor and Bankwatch Network says Western Balkan countries will face difficulties in their plans for energy transition.

The report highlighted that new energy plans backed by the EU and US to make Western Balkan countries independent of Russian gas will be costly, as some countries currently don't import any gas, or lack the infrastructure to do so, which will make it harder for them to transit to green energy, despite the natural potential the countries have.

According to the report, plans for €3.5 billion worth of new gas-fired power plants, gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas LNG terminals in the Western Balkans, promoted by European Union and US institutions, would force countries to import far more gas than they have done in the past and delay the region's shift toward clean, domestic energy production.

"In 2021, the Western Balkans consumed a mere 3.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, or 4 per cent of what Germany used that same year. Half of these countries do not import any gas from international markets," the report noted.

It explained that by building costly new gas systems, in some cases from the ground up, these economies could introduce new economic and energy security risks into an already challenging energy transition.

The reason for building new pipelines and terminals is to replace Russian gas imports.

"However, most countries in the Western Balkans, unlike those in the EU, do not rely heavily on gas or face the same urgency to replace existing gas supplies," the report noted.

In some Western Balkan countries, gas is not the primary way for them to obtain energy and in some other countries, there is no infrastructure to import it.

"The six countries of the...

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