Regional network for efficient use of energy and water resources (RENEUER)

BusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 1/2005

The states of Southeast Europe have limited energy and water resources. All countries from the region are net importers of energy resources to meet their domestic demands. At the same time energy consumption per GDP unit is among the highest in Europe. This consumption rate is not the result of high economic activity and high living standards but rather the consequence of low efficiency of fuel and energy use.

Efficient use of energy and water resources is an issue of key importance for the development of the region, especially in the context of its future integration into the European communities.

The major barriers to the efficient enduse of energy and water are discrepancy between prices and the cost of these resources and the poor state of industry, which is the major energy and water consumer.

The relatively small size of the energy efficiency projects and the fact that they are generally launched by a considerable number of small owners, dispersed over a broad area and isolated from one another, diminishes the investors. interest in them, despite their otherwise good technical and financial indicators and the indisputable environmental benefits that they may produce.

Good contacts and joint actions of the countries from the region are still limited. Nevertheless many of the projects require supra-national efforts. No doubt, that the existence of a common market within the framework of Southeast Europe would be much more attractive to foreign investors than whichever of the markets in the individual countries.

Therefore, any future mechanism for development and implementation of projects for energy and water conservation should unite all countries of Southeast Europe into an adequate regional network.

The network - a solution tool

On the basis of analysis of the problem outlined above and the opportunities identified a network for its phased resolution is presented below. The goal of this network is to achieve the efficient use of energy and water resources in Southeast Europe. The objective of this network is to promote the creation of favorable investment climate and market conditions for implementation of projects for energy and water efficiency improvement in support the efforts of the Southeast European countries.

For the achievement of this objective in the short to medium-term horizon a regional network of local, national and international institutions, with interest in activities for improvement of the efficiency of end use of energy and water resources in the countries of Southeast Europe (RENEUER) will act as a tool for the implementation of the above goal and objective.

Raising the efficiency of end-use of energy and water resources is a complex issue. Its resolution requires continuous efforts on the part of a variety of actors - state and local authorities, NGOs and representatives of the business circles. Comprehensive amendments are necessary in the existing legislative framework, the organization of the investment process and the current practices. It will be feasible to set up a new investment framework in order to resolve the tasks and to create adequate interrelations among the various actors and stakeholders. Institutional changes will be required at almost all levels of management of the energy and water sectors. It could be anticipated that in the course of work both similarities and differences will be identified in the circumstances in the different countries and hence differentiated approach will be needed. This network envisages consistent efforts for identification and “untangling” of the problems and creation of prerequisites for their resolution “step by step” on the basis of systematic approach and maximum respect for traditions and specifics in the different countries.

The network comprises the following Southeast European countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

The Regional Network for Efficient Use of Energy and Water Resources (RENEUER)

was established by the initiative of representatives of central and local authorities, NGOs and companies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Yugoslavia. The initiative was introduced first at a regional conference in November 1999 in Sofia with the support of the UNECE, UNDP, USAID and other international organizations. In May 2000 the RENEUER concept was presented to the Steering Committee of UNECE .Energy Efficiency 21. project in Geneva and became part of its scope of work. By recommendation of the UNECE Secretary General RENEUER was listed in the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe list of projects. The Network is also part of the Southeast Cooperative Initiative (SECI).