Out of time and out of tune with EU: Energy Community reports emissions beyond limits by coal plants in Western Balkans

Europe in transition

Yesterday the Secretariat of the Energy Community, the international treaty integrating the energy markets of the EU and its neighbours, published its Annual Implementation Report. The report shows that none of the Energy Community member states which have coal in their energy mix are in compliance with the emission ceilings established under their National Emission Reduction Plans (NERPs) for at least one of the three pollutants (nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and dust) of the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD).

In the Western Balkans, Kosovo failed to comply with the ceilings for all three pollutants, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia exceeded the ceilings for sulphur dioxide and dust. Given the lack of adoption of the NERP in Serbia, large combustion plants there have to comply with the emission limits of the Directive on an individual basis. For the majority of Serbia’s plants, this is not yet the case with emissions of sulphur dioxide being particularly worrisome.

The Report points out that, given that business continues as usual for many of the region’s power plants, which are subject to the Directive’s opt-out mechanism, their time is quickly running out. If operated at the same level as in 2018, Montenegro’s plant in Pljevlja will have to be shut down next year, unless measures are taken for a technical upgrade to meet stricter emission limits of the Industrial Emissions Directive. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Tuzla (Block 4) is next in May 2021, followed by three plants in Serbia, which would reach the end of their 20.000 hours permit before December 2023.

Viktor Berishaj, Southeast Europe Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, in his reaction to the Report, states:

“The Report reinforces one of the main messages from our own Chronic Coal Pollution study published earlier in the year: enforcement mechanisms in the Energy Community need to be strengthened so as to prevent the governments in the Western Balkans to procrastinate the inevitable – compliance for now and planning for the future, which means beyond coal. Despite benefiting from generous direct and indirect subsidies, including payment of no carbon emissions cost at all, the region’s coal fleet is quickly proving itself incapable of keeping up with our shared determination to protect our air from its harmful pollutants. The region now needs realistic and meaningful – read ambitious target-setting for 2030, with a view to 2050 reflected in National Energy and Climate Plans, which are currently in preparation, to ensure it carves out a credible path to its European, decarbonised future.”


Contact: Stevan Vujasinovic, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, stevan@caneurope.org, +381 63 390 218

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 160 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.