Serbia (at that time part of Yugoslavia) became a member of the World Energy Council in 1924. As one of the WEC’s founders, the Yugoslav World Energy Council Member Committee, including high federal government officials and leading experts in all energy sectors, was active all the time both on local and international scene. At present the Serbian World Energy Council member committee is continuing this practice. Its membership (individuals from governmental institutions, universities, scientific institutes, energy industries and consulting and other companies, as well as from professional associations in the energy field as the MC collective members) takes an active part in all energy related matters in the country.
Mr. Simovic is an experienced energy professional with more than 30 years of international experience in energy, utilities, and management. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade with advance level of additionally acquired skills in management, business, and finance.
He started his professional carrier in the reputable Serbian corporation Energoprojekt Group, one of the engineering giants of former Yugoslavia. The company employed several thousands of engineers active on projects executed in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Over time he climbed a corporate latter, advancing from an engineering position to the Assistant Director for business operations and marketing in Energoprojekt ENTEL, an independent company of Energoprojekt Group providing services in energy and water related consultancy, design and project management. In 2002 he was appointed the CEO of Energoprojekt ENTEL, the role he has been holding up to date.
Mr. Simovic is regularly invited to provide views on various energy sector related subjects by key energy stakeholders in Serbia, including Serbian Academy of Science and Arts, faculties, business and engineering organizations and associations. Likewise, the company he leads, Energoprojekt ENTEL is firmly established on the Serbian market as one of the most reputable capital project consultancy provider in the country. The company regularly cooperates with the most reputable international consultants, contractors and international organizations.
Throughout his rich career. Mr. Simovic received a number of awards for best manager, entrepreneur or leader while the company he leads was selected among the best in Serbia. He is on the Board of Directors of UAE-Serbia Business Club. He was also Vice President of the Red Star Sports Association, the largest sports association in Serbia.
Prof. Miloš Banjac, PhD, is a full-time Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Belgrade. In 2010, he was appointed Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic Serbia, in charge of the energy efficiency and renewable energy sector. During that period, he managed or advised the drafting of the most important legal and strategic documents in the energy sector in Serbia: Energy Law, the Law on Efficient Use of Energy, the Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, National Action Plans for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and many others. Through dozens of by-laws adopted at the time, Dr Banjac, together with his associates, created a legal basis for establishing the Energy Efficiency Budget Fund, as well as Energy Management System in Serbia, also creating a legal basis for promoting construction of renewable power generation facilities, resulting in more than 500 MW of renewable power added to the national energy system.
He represented Serbia in the Renewable Energy Task Force in the Energy Community of Southeast Europe in 2011-2012 and negotiated Serbia’s national RES obligations until 2020. He was Representative of the Republic of Serbia on issues related to renewable energy in the Energy Community of South East Europe, Chair of the Renewable Energy Coordination Group (2014-2020), Representative of the Republic of Serbia in the Energy and Climate Committee in the Energy Community of Southeast Europe (2014-2020) and Vice-Chair of the Bureau of the UNECE Group of Experts on Renewable Energy (2014-2020).
He has been a member of the Energy Committee of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts since 2018 and the president of the National Scientific Committee for Energy and Mining at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development since 2021. He is the author of five textbooks, five handbooks and three monographs, as well as more than 180 scientific papers. He is a regular speaker on international and local conferences where he addresses sustainable development of Serbia, the optimum structure of final energy consumption, energy efficiency improvements and use of locally available renewable energy sources.
Energy in Serbia
With the recent rising of energy prices and concerns of irreversible climate change, energy transition to low carbon sources becomes a critical issue for Serbia, a country with coal as its major indigenous energy resource. The positions of Serbian World Energy Issues Monitor respondents coming from various sectors and of recently contacted stakeholders may roughly be divided into two groups, one in favour of coal use until its complete exhaustion (around 2050) or only until the (earlier) end of operational lifetime of power plants, and another in favour of a faster transition towards natural gas and renewables. Both groups agree that the energy transition is a difficult and costly endeavour for Serbia, bearing in mind that its cheap coal is currently used to generate around 70% of total country’s electricity consumed.
There is a critical uncertainty that Serbia could ensure quality energy access for its consumers through a fast transition away from coal with its current economic strength and economic growth, which may be jeopardised by the increase of energy import dependency. The transition may also disturb the future of work with closing down of coal mines, because the coal mining is the major single employer in the country. Critical uncertainty is also the investor environment: since new generation from coal is not attractive, the investments are mainly directed to upgrades of the existing power plants that remain in operation while shutting down older ones. Since renewables alone may not be sufficient for long-term generation including natural gas as a transitional fuel, the nuclear option is frequently candidate for the long-term energy mix. However, this option is highly uncertain because of the moratorium on nuclear power plants, imposed by law (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia 85/2005). There is a possibility for Serbia to enter partnership with neighbouring Hungary or Bulgaria in their nuclear projects prior to building its own plants provided that moratorium would be abolished.
Therefore, promotion of Renewable Energies, Energy Affordability, Energy Efficiency, Climate Change Management and Support Mechanisms remain the top Action Priority issues for Serbia. To achieve its goal of 50% share of renewable energies in gross final energy consumption by 2040, Serbia enacted a separate Law on the use of renewable energy sources (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia 40/2021) to attract new investments in renewables through modified support mechanisms for electricity from renewable sources. Also, the Law on energy efficiency and rational use of energy (Official Gazette as above) was enacted in 2021 to enhance energy efficiency by a wide range of supports for such projects. An important force to drive efficiency up will come with an expected increase in energy prices due to carbon taxes regulated by recent Law on climate change management (Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia 26/2021) and already drafted Low Carbon Development Strategy, as well as by the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. As a consequence of both carbon taxation and rising share of electricity generation using imported gas, the prices will increase considerably, thus reducing affordability of many consumers to use and pay electricity as before.
Under these circumstances, regionally integrated energy markets with increased interconnection capacity with neighbouring countries is seen as crucial for optimal integration of renewables and efficient electricity trading across borders, as well as for addressing issues related to energy security. Regional market integration projects therefore remain an action priority for Serbia such as the ‘Western Balkan 6’ initiative in the context of the Energy Community in the South-Eastern Europe.
TESTING PERSPECTIVES WITH THE WEC SERBIA MEMBER COMMUNITY
The results of the World Energy Issues Survey were discussed with WEC Serbia members in January and February 2022. During the discussion, the key findings regarding Action Priorities and Critical Uncertainties were confirmed and the following three theses were highlighted:
1. Strategic planning for the longer-term energy supply
With most of the country’s hydro potential already in use, and a limited potential of other renewables, Serbia faces a difficult and costly transition from its coal. Opinions shared during issues survey indicate that ensuring a well-established long-term energy strategy is the best opportunity for advancing energy transition. Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy is already drafting new Energy Strategy by 2040 with Integrated Energy and Climate Plan by 2030, both with visions by 2050. Benefits from such a longer-term planning include decentralisation and diversification of energy supply, and widespread digitalisation of energy systems to ensure demand-side innovation and prosumer engagement.
2. Preparing for a manageable more distributed energy system
Serbia particularly needs to focus on its very ambitious growing share of renewables in the gross final consumption. As the energy system with renewables becomes more distributed, the utilities should transform from simple electricity suppliers to energy-service platforms, while the consumers are becoming prosumers. A new data architecture is required to support the decentralised energy system with two-way flow of electricity and to process a massive amount of data, generated from smart meters and other digital grid components. However, an efficient digitalisation of the energy systems, including ‘big data’, block chain, smart grids, smart meters and other digital technologies, requires new technologies to be applied at the consumer level as well.
3. Local expertise indispensable for sensitive energy decision-making
Due to its lack of funding, Serbia often looks for foreign assistance in various energy matters, usually associated with foreign expertise and solutions without profound insight in local social and economic environment or responsibility for eventual failures. For adequate solutions in those extremely sensitive energy issues such as transformational agenda towards decarbonisation, emphasis is put on local expertise needed to support governmental and corporate decision-making and help a wider education in the energy matters alongside with setting up of a multidisciplinary national institute for energy.
Serbia Member Committee