A conference on renewable energy sources in district heating and cooling systems, organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Federal Ministry of Finance of Austria, in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), will be held in Belgrade on December 5-6.
The conference takes place at Sava Center as part of the 50th International HVAC&R Congress and Exhibition.
Sponsored by IRENA, and in cooperation with the EBRD, a session titled “Capacity Building for Renewable Energy Applications for District Heating and Cooling in Cities” will open on day one and close on Friday, December 6. At the session, international experts will talk about strategic planning, prospects for the use of renewable energy sources, available sources of financing, but also technical challenges.
Bojan Bogdanović, Principal Fund Manager for Renewable District Energy at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), says that the bank wants to support the use of renewables in district heating and cooling systems in all countries in the region because it is affordable and beneficial for people, the systems, the air quality, and the fight against climate change, as well as for achieving the goals that countries in the region have committed to.
“Citizens of the Western Balkans are no longer in doubt whether climate change is a reality, and they’re aware that energy efficiency and district heating systems help reduce its impact, but they don’t want their bills to rise. Projects implemented in Europe demonstrate that renewables in district heating and cooling systems, without subsidies, can cost the same or less than fossil fuels, meaning that bills would not go up, while bringing numerous other benefits,” says Bogdanović.
EBRD is currently conducting a feasibility study for a solar thermal project for Pančevo, which involves installing 35,000 m2 of solar collectors and building a 150,000 m3 underground, seasonal storage facility.
This technology enables the use of solar thermal energy both in summer months, when it is most available and in winter months, by using surpluses generated during the summer and stored in a seasonal storage facility.
Similar solutions are being prepared for Novi Sad and Bor, while Valjevo and Šabac have expressed their interest in projects involving heat pumps that use waste heat from wastewater treatment facilities.
Apart from these two types of renewables, district systems can also use geothermal energy, biomass, biogas, as well as heat from seas, lakes, and rivers.
To support these projects, the EBRD has set up the Renewable District Energy in Western Balkans (ReDEWeB) fund, aimed at helping to increase investments in the renewables sector. The fund plans to enable the implementation of ten projects in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo*, and Serbia.
The conference will be a platform for local and international experts to present their works on planned and implemented projects that best illustrate the latest developments in the district energy sector.