A panel entitled “Energy Future of the Region” was held at the conference organized by the Confederation of Italian Industry in Serbia (Confindustria Serbia) “Energy in the Balkans: Transition to Renewable Energy Sources and Improvement of Energy Networks”.
Participants were Svetlana Cerović, Head of Finance and Consulting Department of UniCredit Bank, Željko Đurić, General Manager of Balkan Wind Farm, Dubravka Đedović, Member of the Executive Board for Business and Investment Banking of NLB Komercijalna Banka, Predrag Milenović, Member of the Executive Board and Director of the Division for business with Banka Intesa and Vucko Vukovic, Director of Customer Service at General Electric Power.
Svetlana Cerovic characterized UniCredit Bank’s participation in RES financing as greater than the bank’s participation capacity in the overall banking sector, which speaks of the bank’s commitment and interest in contributing to the overall energy transition.
“The bank is working on considering the possibility of further and more complex financing of the new wave of RES, but also providing support to investors who have already financed their projects for some more optimal financial structures,” she pointed out. Cerovic then mentioned the importance of the regulatory framework, necessary for the state to attract investors.
The pipeline of UniCredit Bank’s projects is large, approximately 1GW, and when it comes to the method of financing, she explained that it is quite right that in addition to the market premium, there are other financing schemes.
Regarding the commitment of NLB Komercijalna banka to the development of the Sustainable Agenda and Green Transition, Dubravka Đedović pointed out that as the goal of the bank’s strategy. He believes that the energy transition, although it later arrives in the region, is inevitable. In Serbia, the bank has focused on financing biogas and biomass projects, but there are more than 150 MW projects, mostly wind farms, in Kosovo and Macedonia financed by the bank.
“We need to ask ourselves what kind of country we will leave to future generations,” said Djedovic.
NLB Komercijalna banka set aside 40 million to finance, primarily wind farms. The fact that it has become an “equity” investor in an investment fund whose goal is only to develop RES in the entire region, so they invested their own funds, speaks in favor of the bank’s commitment to RES projects. “It is important that there is a comprehensive view, because not only are new green field projects needed by Serbia, but everyone, both companies and citizens, must be involved in energy efficiency projects,” Djedovic concluded.
Milanovic pointed out the Green Transition of Banka Intesa as one of the key determinants of banking strategies. However, he described their strategy as slightly different, as Banka Intesa is characterized by a comprehensive and holistic approach, from individuals to public companies.
Intesa San Paolo is a leader in Europe when it comes to the promotion and production of loans in the circular economy, it has also joined the “Net Zero Banking Alliance” group of over 100 financial institutions that have committed to clean their business from carbon footprint.
“In order for banks to successfully implement the transition, a complete restructuring of business processes and mindset must be carried out,” Milanovic concluded.
The role of the financial sector is to place money, but also to be a promoter. Investments in energy efficiency and RES projects involve less risk and smart spending of capital, and if so, the end customer should pay less. Milanović pointed out that the KPI group also needs to introduce “sustainable” users, and that they are in the process of financing in the form of improving the energy efficiency of buildings, there are special loans for A and B category apartments and the like.
When it comes to General Electric, which is synonymous with wind turbines, in 2015 the company acquired the French industrial group Alstom. By merging, the leaders in off-shore and on-shore capacities actually united, as Vukovic explained. General Electric is present in almost all thermal power plants in Serbia.
“At this moment, it is also important to modernize what we have now. “We need to work on two tracks,” he said.
Zeljko Djuric believes that the company Masdar as an investor, but also the association of RES contributed to the energy transition, not only by implementing the largest wind farm Cibuk 1 with a capacity of 158 MW, but also by introducing a procedure for financing projects, systems and documents, and participating in working groups amendment and enactment of laws.
“Within the working group, we are working on solving the problem of what and how to proceed, because everyone, both EPS and EMS and the Ministries, must agree. It is crucial to determine which are the real projects that will be connected to the network and work on groups of projects – how to balance, whether there will be an auction this year and the like, “he said.
The panelists agreed that only joint efforts and resources can help investors do what they want.
The International Conference “Energy and the Balkans: Transition to Renewable Sources and Improving Energy Connections” was organized by Confindustria East Europe and Confindustria of Serbia, with the support of Confindustria.
Source: Energetski portal Srbije by www.energetskiportal.rs.
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