Serbia adopts four laws on energy, mining

The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia has adopted two new laws – the law on renewable energy sources and the law on energy efficiency and rational use of energy, as well as amendments to two laws – the law on energy and the law on mining and geological research.

Author: Vladimir Spasić

The renewable energy sources law, adopted by the Serbian government at the end of March, is seen as the enabler of large investments in the construction of solar power plants and wind farms, which will accelerate the decarbonization of Serbia’s energy sector and increase the share of renewable sources in energy consumption. Investors are already showing great interest in both wind and solar.

The law introduces auctions for the award of premiums, creates conditions for the development of the renewable energy market, and allows citizens and companies to produce electricity for their own consumption and become prosumers.

The law also introduces the possibility for the state to launch tendering for strategic partnership for investments in green energy, but also retains some old solutions, such as feed-tariffs for small-scale facilities (power plants below 500 kW and wind power plants below 3 MW). However, it introduces a ban on the construction of hydropower plants of any type and capacity in protected areas.

The adoption and implementation of the law will ensure the protection of the environment, the fight against climate change, the reduction of costs for citizens, the energy transition, as well as the simplification and acceleration of procedures, the Ministry of Mining and Energy said.

Subsidies for joinery, facades and heating systems

The biggest novelty of the law on energy efficiency and rational use of energy is the roll-out of the subsidies for citizens to replace windows and doors, install wall and roof insulation, as well as to replace heating systems (stoves and boilers) with devices that are more efficient and use less polluting fuels. In order to implement all these activities, an energy efficiency administration will be established by June.

The ministry and the local municipalities will secure subsidies to cover 50% of the investment while the rest will have to be provided by citizens.

The law also introduces regulations for eco-design including energy labels for household appliances.

Creating conditions to prepare a national energy and climate plan

Amendments to the law on energy will create a legal basis for the adoption of the national energy and climate plan (NECP) and further regulate and expand the competencies of the Energy Agency of the Republic of Serbia, according to the ministry.

The law enables heat consumers to get the status of energy vulnerable consumers, which secures subsidies for paying the bills, similar to the consumers of electricity and gas.

The administrative part of the ministry’s activities will be digitized in order to introduce e-energy, which will simplify procedures and speed up the issuance of permits and approvals.

More efficient and sustainable management of geological resources

The changes to the law on mining and geological research will create conditions for a more efficient and sustainable management of mineral and other geological resources, as well as for increasing investments in geological research and mining, the ministry said.

The value of confirmed mineral reserves in Serbia is around USD 200 billion, and one of the goals is to increase the share of the mining sector in GDP from the current 1.9% to 4-5% in the next five years.

The issuance of approvals to be shortened from 150 to 20 days

The amendments to the law expand the competencies of the geological institute of Serbia, and enable the establishment of a chamber of mining and geological engineers of Serbia.

The law also creates a legal basis for digitalization and the introduction of e-mining, which simplifies the procedure for issuing approvals and shortens it from the current 150 days, to an average of 15 to 20 days.

This article was originally posted on Balkan Green Energy News.