2015-11-30

While the Western Balkans have a widely untapped potential for green energy, Balkan governments like Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina are locking national energy systems into outdated and heavily polluting coal infrastructures for decades to come.

While the Western Balkans have a widely untapped potential for green energy, Balkan governments like Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina are locking national energy systems into outdated and heavily polluting coal infrastructures for decades to come.

Despite governments' official pledges to turn away from financing new coal projects, international lenders such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are continuing to support local governments in modernising and thus expanding the outdated coal sector.

In addition, many Western Balkan governments have found a new investor in Asia: Chinese state banks are lending large sums to construct new coal facilities; Chinese companies are already busy building additional plant capacities – which means that local labour markets lose out.

While fresh investments in dirty coal pay off for Balkan governments in the short run, they carry enormous financial and political risks in the long run. While decades of coal-burning are already burdening state coffers, health and environmental costs will be increasing dramatically.

Daniela Schröder

Daniela Schröder is a Hamburg-based independent writer and editor.

Dražen Simić

Dražen Simić is a Bosnian journalist. He works freelance and is specialised in economics, business and finance, as well as corruption in companies and governments.

Supported
Grant of €8.025, allocated on 15/12/2014
ID
2014/231

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