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Kosovo Must Deepen its Cooperation with Germany to Achieve Energy Transition

Artikulli i përkthyer.

The energy transition is one of the biggest challenges facing the world in the upcoming decades. Due to the significant pollution caused by the reliance on coal and Kosovo’s aspirations for EU membership, the country cannot be exempt from this challenge.

Kosovo must transition faster to cleaner energy sources and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to meet global environmental goals and become a sustainable country. By working with Germany, Kosovo can gain valuable insights and resources to accelerate this process and achieve its environmental goals.

Germany’s Shift Towards Energy Transition

After years of prioritizing other issues such as stability and connectivity, the German government understood that Kosovo needs to be targeting other crucial sectors to become an EU member state in the future.

Whether his predecessor, Angela Merkel invested time and energy in improving inter-country connections (e.g., road, railway, energy, sea) across the Western Balkans six, via the so-called Berlin Process, the new government led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been diverting its attention on renewables in line with the EU green deal.

This was the right call from Berlin since Kosovo urgently needs to diversify its energy supplies to achieve climate and energy transition in line with the EU standards. Currently, 97% of its electricity is generated by two outdated lignite-fired power plants emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases and causing high levels of air pollution. Kosovo is highly dependent on coal, with the fifth largest lignite reserves in the world.

Kosovo-German Cooperation on Energy

Germany focuses on promoting renewable energy and enhancing energy efficiency in Kosovo by installing solar facilities to supply power to individual buildings and modernizing air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.

Berlin has been instrumental in upgrading the two lignite-fired power stations and it has invested in extending and consolidating the lignite mining industry. In addition, KfW Development, for instance, is supporting a project with its local partner Termokos, aiming at connecting Pristina`s district heating system with Kosovo B thermal power plant transformed into a co-generation one.

Furthermore, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation (BMZ) supports the Kosovar government to encourage private investment in photovoltaic systems—special electric installations that produce energy from renewable sources. There are plans to build an innovative high-temperature energy storage facility providing heating for 60,000 people living in Pristina, while significantly improving air quality for half a million.

Germany`s current project is the single largest investment in the district heating sector in Kosovo, with a total financing of EUR 37,3 million. Different donors (e.g., German federal cooperation, European Union, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Kosovo`s contribution) pooled their funds into it.

Challenges Ahead

Kosovo has committed to decarbonization by 2050 by increasing its institutional and technical capacities to adapt to the changing climate. However, it is crucial for the country to transition towards a green transport system, particularly in the railway sector, inherited from the former Yugoslavia which is now old and partly functioning.

By investing in modernizing its railways and transitioning towards cleaner modes of transportation, Kosovo can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and move towards a more sustainable future.

In addition to its current efforts, Kosovo must establish climate legislation as soon as possible. While the country has made progress by establishing an inter-ministerial climate change council and coordinating the modeling of a long-term decarbonization plan, it is crucial to address the current challenges with new legislation.

By enacting climate legislation, Kosovo can draft a legal framework to support its transition towards a more sustainable future and provide guidance and accountability for its climate goals.

There are promising steps ahead. Notably, much of the pressure came from Brussels and Berlin. Things are moving in the right direction. There is hope this shift will be quick to deliver tangible results.

Lexoni Gjithashtu

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