On Thursday 20 April 2017, Aleksandar Antić, Minister of mining and energy signed in UNDP premises contracts on allocation of grants for co-financing of energy efficiency projects in public buildings in competence of local self-government with local self-government representatives.
The amount of 25 million RSD was allocated from the Budgetary Fund for Energy Efficiency, while $500.000 was provided from the Global Environmental Fund (GEF). Except for Mr Aleksandar Antić, Minister of mining and energy, the ceremony was attended by MS Karla Hershey, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, MS Steliana Nedera, Deputy UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Miloš Banjac, Assistant Minister for mining and energy, mayors of the thirteen selected municipalities, and numerous international representatives, as well as representatives of institutions of the Republic of Serbia, professional audience, and media.
The funds were allocated based on the results of the public call addressed to local self-government units which the Ministry of mining and energy published in October last year. As many as 35 local self-government units responded to the call, while an evaluation commission comprising several members including representatives of the Ministry of mining and energy and UNDP, chaired by Mirjana Filipović, State Secretary, which worked with technical support of an expert consultant provided by UNDP, evaluated the submitted project proposals according to set criteria, the most important one of which was reduction of CO2 emissions upon completion of the project. The following are the 13 municipalities with the best rated projects which met the criteria of the pubic call: Žagubica, Raška, Knjaževac, Lapovo, Šabac, Medveđa, Ljubovija, Lučani, Pećinci, Svilajnac, Žabari, Kruševac, and Velika Plana.
In his address to the local self-government representatives, Minister Antić said that “Implementation of this public call is continuation of successful cooperation with UNDP which supported this pubic call with 50% of the funds, while the rest is financed from the budget of the Republic of Serbia and local self-government contributions. The importance of these projects is multiple. For me, the most important is promotion of energy efficiency as our most significant topic for future”. Minister Antić also said: “I am looking forward to continuation of cooperation with UNDP, we have been working with them on projects within a broader frame, within overall energy management, which is very important for us; all local self-government units, all legal entities, all companies in Serbia need to understand that energy management is not our whim, and not something which we put in law to cause additional administration, but that energy management needs to be grasped and taken as a trend which exists in the whole developed world, where it was effective and bore fruit”.
MS Karla Hershey, Resident UN Coordinator and Resident UNDP Representative in Serbia said she was pleased with the fact that as many as 35 local self-government units applied after the public call, which indicates to a great deal of interest in use of renewable energy and energy management at local level. She also said that UNDP strongly supports Serbia in achieving the goal of 9% energy saving in gross final consumption by 2018, which is the obligation it took as a member of the Energy Community Treaty of Southeast Europe in its Energy Efficiency Action Plan. As a development agency with vast experience in this area, UNDP provides its contribution through the projects it currently implements in Serbia in cooperation with the competent institutions.
Mr Miloš Banjac, Assistant Minister of mining and energy and National director of project “Removing Barriers to Promote and Support Energy Management Systems in Municipalities throughout Serbia” presented the so-far results of the project, explained the purpose of introducing energy management system in local self-governments, and provided details of projects for the purpose of which the contracts were signed. In his address, he stated that in cooperation with UNDP training and examinations for energy managers in local self-government units and energy managers in buildings were conducted and that the local self-government units should be, one by one, appointing licensed energy managers. He expects the trend to be accelerated this year. He also pointed to the importance of demo-projects which will be implemented upon signing of the contracts, which will enable saving of about 1500 tons of CO2 emissions a year. He emphasized that within the selected projects as many as 6 projects aimed at fuel switching to heating using biomass, which will increase the capacity of such plants in Serbia by additional 2.5 MW.