Efficient district energy (heating and cooling) systems are perfect for the application of energy from renewable sources and use of waste heat. Renewables can be more affordable for the district energy system operators and end-customers, compared to energy from fossil fuels. However, their potential is greatly underexploited in the Western Balkans Region due to the lack of information and know-how. In addition, district energy systems operators are sometimes reluctant to invest resources in new technologies due to the lack of financial support.
To respond to this situation and increase the share of renewables in the heating and cooling of the region, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has partnered with the Government of Austria to established a Renewable District Energy in Western Balkans Fund (ReDEWeB Fund), which aims to contribute to enabling investment in the renewable district energy sector of the Western Balkans.
In order to overcome the abovementioned barriers, the Fund works closely with the Energy Community Secretariat to provide support in four main areas of technical assistance:
- Framework policy activities;
- Municipal policy activities;
- Technical assistance, investment preparation support (to municipalities and developers) and capex grants; and
- Capacity building and networking.
The Fund prioritizes the application of solar thermal technologies in district energy systems but all other applicable technologies are taken into account such as: biomass, biogas, geothermal, heat pumps, waste heat (incineration plants, industrial waste heat and sewage) and energy from the sea, lakes and rivers.
The Fund is already in operation. All stakeholders interested in receiving more information about the Fund and applying for technical assistance may contact the Energy Community Secretariat or directly the ReDEWeB Fund Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).