Montenegro, Stable energy infrastructure is a shield against the energy crisis

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Thanks to the European Union (EU) support package, Montenegro has the opportunity to help the most socially vulnerable categories of the population and reduce the pressure on the existing electricity grid and the need for imports, announced the Minister of Capital Investments, Ervin Ibrahimović.

-Thanks to the support package granted by a strategic partner with whom the Ministry has an extremely good and fruitful cooperation, we have the opportunity to help the most socially vulnerable categories of the population this year, who until now have not had the opportunity to receive this type of support, as well as to reduce the pressure on the existing electrical energy network and the need for imports through encouraging energy efficiency in households, small and medium-sized enterprises and the tourism and industry sector – said Ibrahimović in an interview with the Mina-business agency.

According to him, the Ministry of Capital Investments is responsible for the coordination and implementation of that package as a department, and so far it has carried out a wide range of consultations with all interested parties.

-Therefore, we believe in its successful implementation. I also believe that the support package will only be the initial capsule for the investment wave that we want to initiate in the field of energy – claims Ibrahimović.

He reminded that the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, at the beginning of December last year at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Tirana, presented a package of energy support to the Western Balkans, which consists of EUR 1 billion in grants for solving the immediate consequences energy crises and increasing resilience in the short and medium term.

The first half of the package consists of EUR 500 million of direct budget support for mitigating the economic and social impact on vulnerable households and small and medium-sized enterprises and supporting the energy transition, while the remaining EUR 500 million will be earmarked for the improvement of projects in the field of energy.

– As part of the support package for overcoming the energy crisis, the EC allocated EUR 30 million to Montenegro, after the intensive communication of the Ministry of Capital Investments with the competent entities on the EC side, which followed the initial meeting held on October 17 last year with the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Policy expansion, by Oliver Varhely – explained the minister.
Energy sector
When asked what are the key challenges in the energy sector, Ibrahimović answered that the field of energy, in itself, is specific and complex, and beyond the moment that has imposed itself on the world as a new global reality.

He explained that the war events in Ukraine generally encouraged the re-examination of some of the established forms of business and the functioning of supply chains, which consequently affected the field of energy and called into question the security of the supply of electricity and energy products, but also forced a re-examination of the strategic directions of development.

– The production of electricity at a level that would guarantee the security of the supply of consumers in Montenegro with a green energy transition and low-carbon development is an ambitious goal that we have before us, and it implies the construction of a new electrical energy infrastructure, as well as facilities for connection with neighboring energy systems, with the application of modern energy technologies, increasing the use of energy from renewable sources and increasing energy efficiency – said Ibrahimović.

Such a goal, as he stated, necessitates the preparation of new strategic documents, as well as harmonization with EU policies and regulations in the field of energy and the environment.

– That is why we started the preparation of the first National Energy and Climate Plan, which will be our main strategic document until 2030 – he stated.

He adds that the main challenge is the decarbonization of the energy sector, because it is connected to the operation of the Thermal Power Plant (TE) Pljevlja, which generates about 45 percent of the total annual production of electricity in Montenegro.

– When considering the possibility of implementing a green energy transition, it should be borne in mind that Montenegro has significant potential from renewable energy sources – hydro potential, as well as the potential of solar radiation, wind and biomass – announced Ibrahimović.

He reminded that activities are currently underway on the Komarnica hydroelectric power plant, the Gvozd and Brajići wind power plants, and the Briska gora solar power plant. Also, the Ministry is working on creating the conditions for the implementation of the Velje Brdo solar power plant construction project.
– There are ongoing projects aimed at improving energy efficiency in health, educational, social and administrative facilities. Also, energy efficiency measures are implemented in households with the aim of reducing heating costs and increasing comfort in households, as well as the development of the market for efficient heating and cooling systems in Montenegro – said Ibrahimović.

Bearing in mind that natural gas will continue to be an important source of energy, as well as the need to diversify our energy sources, Ibrahimović stated that they plan to enable the supply of natural gas to Montenegro via the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline and using its own gas reserves from the Montenegrin seabed.

– Therefore, one of our main strategic projects, the implementation of which we will devote ourselves to, is the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline. It is about a project implemented by Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Croatia, for which a preliminary project has been prepared so far with the support of the Investment Framework for the Western Balkans, and the preconditions have been created for the formation of a company that would manage this project –  Ibrahimović explained.

According to him, this project became more important because of the war in Ukraine and the need to reduce dependence on Russian gas sources, and the estimated investment costs of construction in Montenegro amount to around 210 million euros.

-Montenegro plays a very active role in the work of the Energy Community, and at the last meeting of the Ministerial Council, in December last year, it was confirmed that Montenegro has the best overall result among member countries from the Western Balkans when it comes to alignment with the EU acquis. Montenegro is working on the preparation of several new legal solutions, such as the laws on renewable energy sources, on cross-border projects and on the security of supply of oil derivatives – said Ibrahimović.

Commenting on the current energy crisis, Ibrahimović stated that it is our new reality and that it should not be seen as an unsolvable problem, a greater additional challenge that is set before all of us, both the political and professional public, and which the world can direct to new connections and directions of development.

– I want to believe that this is just a period through which we all inevitably have to go, looking at the current way of doing business and defining the investment plan for the next long-term period, with an increasing degree of application of innovative technologies – he stated.
He believes that, unlike all other countries in the surrounding area, and even the world, Montenegro is specific, because thanks to its geographical position and hydrological potential, as well as the fact that there are no major industrial plants as consumers, it has not felt the globally manifested effects of energy crises.

– On the other hand, the energy crisis indicated that we must build a new stable energy infrastructure, especially bearing in mind that, in the long term, the status of the Pljevlja Thermal Power Plant must be defined in accordance with the principles of low-carbon development and the Green Agenda, that we must more strongly develop the potential for using renewable energy sources of energy and devote themselves to the development of the concept of e-mobility, because today road transport in Montenegro remains the dominant form of transport and therefore one of the main polluters – announced Ibrahimović.

He pointed out that the Ministry, thanks to the available EU funds in Montenegro, is initiating activities related to the improvement of the energy market, as well as the investment and business environment when it comes to key electric energy subjects in Montenegro.

Preparations of studies on the justification of the use of wind potential, as well as the existence of the Pljevlja Thermal Power Plant, are also planned.

-During the year, activities will be initiated to continue the preparation of documentation when it comes to the Adriatic-Ionian gas pipeline through Montenegro – concluded Ibrahimović.

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