The 5th meeting of the Energy and Climate Technical Working Group drew together more than 50 participants in a virtual meeting hosted by the Secretariat on 8 October to discuss the Contracting Parties’ progress in the preparation of integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). North Macedonia, as the first Contracting Party to do so, has submitted its draft NECP to the Secretariat, which will issue its recommendations to the draft plan as foreseen by the Ministerial Council before its final submission. Albania and Georgia announced that draft chapters of their national plans have also been submitted to the Secretariat for guidance, while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Ukraine are still in the process of drafting and aim to submit their plans soon.
During the meeting, the European Commission provided an overview of the NECP assessment process in the EU. It also emphasized that a study aiming at extending the modelling capacities of the EU to the Energy Community and its nine Contracting Parties for calculating 2030 overall targets will start in November 2020.
Discussions explored the important dimensions of research and innovation and competitiveness as well as energy poverty related aspects of the NECPs. In their plans, Contracting Parties must provide clear objectives and a specific budget for climate and energy research and innovation. More importantly, support for research and innovation adds value by encouraging cooperation between research teams across countries and disciplines. Experts summarised key aspects of the situation on energy poverty in the Contracting Parties and in the EU. The Secretariat announced the launch of a study on energy poverty, which will assess the number of households in energy poverty in the Contracting Parties and propose policies and measures for addressing it.
In a separate workshop, a regional consultation on the NECPs was kicked-off for the Western Balkan Contracting Parties accompanied by neighbouring EU Member States. Timely regional cooperation and coordination was considered important for several areas addressed by the NECPs, including energy market integration, cross-border mechanisms for renewable energy deployment, transport and research and innovation. The Contracting Parties together with the participating EU Member States were encouraged to hold their own consultations on specific cross-border issues on a bilateral or multilateral level and share their draft NECPs.
The event continued the following day with a workshop on renewables in transport by 2030. The workshop was centred around a study launched by the Secretariat in order to support the Contracting Parties in defining action plans and targets to boost the share of renewable energy in transport. Transport is a critical sector in terms of its contribution to energy consumption and emissions, both of which are expected to rise in the future.