(Sarajevo, March 6, 2019)
“Let Energy Efficiency be First” – this is the conclusion of the Energy Efficiency Obligation Scheme Conference (EEO) participants. This economic model, developed for Bosnia and Herzegovina through the USAID Energy Investment Activity Project, with the right political decisions that are still pending, can be a driver of the GDP growth as well as an environmental protection tool. The conference, held in Sarajevo today, was organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in cooperation with the Energy Community Secretariat and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions with the participation of other representatives from government institutions, the international community and other stakeholders in the energy sector.
“The EEO scheme at the center of today’s conference is one that has been developed through the cooperation of USAID and BiH government institutions and is designed to significantly improve the way efficient energy production is financed. It will also open up thousands of new jobs and business opportunities for companies of all sizes within the energy sector. It is our hope that the legislation needed to implement the EEO scheme is passed so that BiH can begin moving toward a better energy use model in the near future”, said Peter Duffy, USAID Mission Director.
Currently, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most energy inefficient countries in South East Europe. Since neither state budgets nor bank loans can independently bear the great need for financing the energy efficiency measures, the obligation schemes as a mechanism are the only option that can run the whole system as subsidies. According to a survey conducted within the project, the majority of respondents in both entities supported the idea that energy efficiency should be financed from funds collected through a special tax that would flow into a separate fund, but their views are divided when it comes to the dedicated spending of these funds in the future.
“Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, BiH, Mr. Admir Softic, noted that Bosnia and Herzegovina included the Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes in the Framework Energy Strategy and that the House of Representatives of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly issued a set of recommendations for the energy sector reform. “In order to expedite the BiH path towards the EU through meeting the requirements in the field of energy, It Is necessary for all stakeholders to work together In order to get common and acceptable solutions”, stated Softic and used the opportunity to thank to USAID Energy Investment Activity for previous technical assistance and readiness to support BiH In Its critical moments towards the energy sector reform and better economic future”.
In the four-year process of creating this energy efficiency financing model, the USAID Energy Investment Activity Project, together with the relevant ministries and other government institutions, estimated that the investment potential of energy efficiency in the BiH amounts to close to 5 billion KM. The analysis found that by investing 100 million KM per year in the energy efficiency measures, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s GDP would increase by nearly 1% per year, resulting in the creation of approximately 4900 new jobs per year. Also, by applying this model and investing 100 million KM, the energy saved would equal the consumption of 17 thousand average households, as well as reducing the CO2 emissions equal to the annual emissions produced by 19 thousand vehicles.
In addition to the proposed EEO model, the Policy Guidelines for Energy Efficiency Obligation Schemes (prepared by the Energy Community Secretariat and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), were also presented at the conference as well as the examples of the US Obligation Schemes Program.
Representatives of the competent ministries, regulatory commissions and funds for environmental protection and energy efficiency participated in the development of the model of Obligation schemes for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Obligation Schemes are the strategic recommendations of the BiH Framework Energy Strategy, which is defined in the National and Entity Energy Efficiency Action Plans and included in the work program of the FBiH Government for 2019 and the program of economic reforms of the FBiH for the period 2019-2021.