Novi Sad, Vojvodina (SRB), 9th February 2011
Yesterday the Assembly of European Regions’ peer review team presented a series of recommendations on how to improve the energy policy of the province of Vojvodina. Based on the observations made during an October 2010 audit, the report identifies the major strengths and challenges for the development of a green economy in the region.
“We are fully aware of the importance of improving energy efficiency and developing alternative energy sources in our region. Our goal is to take the lead in green energy investment and join the elite group of territories that already use new sources of energy at the maximum levels” stated Ms. Branislava Belic, vice-president of the Vojvodina Assembly. “The numbers are emblematic: as of today, the energy sector represents 25% of the national GDP. Therefore a lot is at stake. Clean environmental projects might generate hundreds of new jobs and will allow the region to regain its economic vitality. We expect new entrepreneurs to flock to our region for new business and growth opportunities” she concluded.
In addition to high-level absorption of European funds and impressive energy expertise among local stakeholders, the peer review report underlines numerous state-of-the-art practices that already exist in the region and set an example for those who might still be reluctant about new energy solutions. Vojvodina also represents an enormous potential for producing energy from abundant local renewable resources such as wind, solar power, biogas, biomass and hydropower.
For the success of a sustainable energy policy, two factors must be present: incentives for individuals and companies to invest in energy efficiency, green energy and promotion of local success stories. The creation of a first sustainable community in the municipality of Temerin might trigger new trends and encourage the other cities to adapt equally high environmental standards. The close cooperation with the chamber of commerce of Novi Sad, private companies and universities, as well as the abolishment of barriers that prevent the development of a mature energy market should also be one of the foremost priorities of the region.
The report also provides advice on how to provoke behavioural changes in consumption patterns, encourage energy-oriented spatial planning, communicate on energy in a friendly manner and provide training to all relevant stakeholders.“The region of Vojvodina has all potentials to implement the recommendations of the peer review team. Now it is up to the province to start the implementation with concrete activities. My agency would be delighted to continue the cooperation we established during the peer review” said Ulrich Klammsteiner from the Bolzano KlimaHaus agency (I).
AER review team: Martina Dematio (I) and Ulrich Klammsteiner (I) – KlimaHaus Agentur, Florin Andronescu (RO) – Alba Local Energy Agency, Catalin Csaszar (RO) – AE3R Energy agency
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