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Disconnecting the Balkans from Russian gas still remains a challenge, Albania has no infrastructure to import

Disconnecting the Balkans from Russian gas still remains a challenge, Albania

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

The report stressed that new EU- and US-backed energy plans to make Western Balkan countries independent of Russian gas will be costly, as some countries currently do not import gas or lack the infrastructure to do so, which that will make it more difficult for them to transition to green energy, despite the natural potential that the countries have, reports Balkan Insight .

According to the report, plans for €3.5 billion 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 too much more gas than they have in the past and have delayed the region's shift to domestic clean energy production.

"In 2021, the Western Balkans consumed only 3.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas, or 4 percent of what Germany used in the same year. Half of these countries do not import gas from international markets" , the report emphasizes.

He explained that by building costly new gas systems, in some cases from the ground up, these economies could present new economic and energy security risks to 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 emphasized.

In some countries of the Western Balkans, gas is not the main way to get energy, and in some other countries there is no infrastructure to import it.

"The six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia - produce electricity mainly from coal and hydropower plants. "Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia use gas mainly for central heating and some industries, and the last two also use it for electricity ," the report states. "Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro do not use gas at all; they do not have the infrastructure to import gas from international markets and they do not have functional distribution networks".

The press release from Global Energy Monitor and Bankwatch on Thursday stressed that the initiative would make it more difficult for the region to switch to green energy and could delay their EU accession.

"For a region with significant solar and wind energy potential, plans for new gas infrastructure will also bring new obstacles to EU membership efforts, as the move conflicts with provisions of the Energy Community Treaty aimed at among other things to harmonize green energy efforts. of the region with that of the EU" , it is further stated.

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