How Western Balkan countries can decarbonise their power systems and save money

(EurActiv, 6 Dec 2022) With the right investments today, the Western Balkans can achieve a carbon-free power system by 2045. The EU-Western Balkans summit is an opportunity to give the region’s green energy transition a welcome push, writes Christian Redl.

Christian Redl is senior associate at Agora Energiewende, a German think-tank.

Western Balkans’ power systems mostly rely on lignite and thus are the most polluting in Europe. The region aims to be climate neutral by 2050 and has started to shift the power sector towards renewables.

But the fossil energy crisis driven by Russia’s war on Ukraine has complicated things. For example, the argument that domestic lignite is vital for a secure and affordable energy supply in the short term has resurfaced amid high energy prices and inflation.

EU leaders will meet their Western Balkan counterparts today in Tirana, Albania, to discuss the energy crisis, among other topics. The European Commission recently announced a 1-billion-euro energy support package for the region to protect the most vulnerable consumer groups from rising fossil fuel and electricity prices and drive investment in energy diversification.

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EurActiv, 6 Dec 2022: How Western Balkan countries can decarbonise their power systems and save money