Energy supply in the Western Balkan countries is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels, costing over $4.1 billion in 2012. With demand for energy in the six countries of the Western Balkans expected to increase by as much as 70% in the coming two decades, policymakers in the region are now being faced with the daunting challenge of meeting this demand in an affordable and sustainable manner. The expected annual increase in demand for energy of 3% over the next 15 years will require Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia to invest more $70 billion in this sector.
In these countries, policymakers are now looking at a broad range of options to help them address this challenge. More and more, governments in the region are turning their attention toward energy efficiency (EE) measures, which could save their countries an estimated $3.4 billion. Recognizing the growing potential for energy savings from EE, governments in the region have begun developing targeted approaches with the aim of exploiting these benefits - including the introduction of EE Laws and National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) that target energy savings of at least 9% by 2018.
Until now, these governments have relied on small-scale, pilot projects funded by donors to demonstrate the potential for energy efficiency in different sectors. While instrumental in highlighting the possible benefits of a variety of EE options, these programs have nonetheless been limited in scope.
However, a new program being coordinated with The World Bank Group, aims to change this.