An investor that wants to invest in new energy facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) must obtain up to 50 different permits from various government levels. This complex permitting procedure has resulted in an investment vacuum in BiH, where no significant new investments in generation have occurred for the past 30 years.
In order to address this issue, USAID launched the Energy Investment Activity Project, whose key task is to prepare the preconditions for new investments of over 1.2 billion dollars. As a kickoff event for the project, the Energy Investment Activity Project organized a two-day Energy Summit for over 230 stakeholders from the BiH governments and institutions, representatives of investors, NGOs and other parties interested in the BiH energy sector. Although it included plenary sessions and technical workshops, the event was a working, interactive conference, in which the participants discussed the BiH investment environment as it is today and discuss the steps that need to be taken in order to make it more investor friendly.
The participants also discussed electricity market opening, the integration of renewables into the network, biomass and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Introductory presentations gave numerous positive examples of best foreign practices in regard to these topics. All participants were in agreement that the decision makers and other bodies in the permitting chain need to do all that it takes to make the investment regime transparent and free from excessive bureaucracy; otherwise, BiH will lose potential investors and its net electricity exporter status due to obsolete and worn out power plants.
The Energy Investment Activity Project also recognizes that it is important that the media have an understanding of the current status of the energy sector. A separate media training was organized for 27 journalists from different media outlets. The objective of the training was to inform the media about the Project and to give them a clear and understandable overview of the BiH electricity sector. The Energy Summit received significant media attention and set a new benchmark for energy-related events in the country.