Plans for 3.5 billion euros of new gas power plants, pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in the Western Balkans

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Data from the Global Gas Facility Monitor and the Global Gas Infrastructure Monitor show that an additional 2,442 megawatts (MW) of planned gas infrastructure would dramatically deepen the region’s dependence on gas for electricity generation, nearly tripling the current capacity of 779 MW.

The first two LNG import terminals in the region – in Montenegro and Albania – would increase exposure to the volatile LNG market with more than 0.5 billion cubic meters of gasification (regasification) capacity, while 2,715 kilometers of new gas pipelines would bring gas to the Western Balkans from Greece, Croatia and other neighboring countries.

In 2021, the six countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – consumed only 3.7 billion cubic meters of gas, or four percent of Germany’s consumption in the same year.

However, the proposed expansion of the gas infrastructure network, advocated by European Union and US institutions, would expose the region to the price volatility and gas shortages that much of Europe faced last year. Albania, Montenegro and are not currently connected to international gas networks, so the new infrastructure would create a completely new dependence on gas. At the same time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns again that global warming cannot be limited to 1.5 °C if the construction of new infrastructure for fossil fuels continues.

Therefore, the planned gas projects in the Western Balkans represent billions of euros of dead capital (unusable assets). Moreover, the plans for the construction of new gas infrastructure in the region, which has significant potential for the use of solar and wind energy, represent an additional obstacle for joining the European Union, whose provisions of the Energy Community Treaty require the harmonization of green energy goals with those of the European Union.

“Construction of gas infrastructure will become a burden for the Western Balkans.” Either it will increase dependence on imports and fossil fuels or it will end up as an unusable asset. If the EU and its banks have learned anything from the recent supply problems, it is that they must stop pushing fossil gas into the region,” said Pippa Gallop, Energy Advisor for Southeast Europe at Bankwatch. “Countries around the world are reconsidering their plans to import this volatile, dirty fuel amid the global energy crisis.

” If the Western Balkans decide to build a new gas infrastructure, it will only make the transition to clean, domestic and affordable energy more difficult,” concludes Robert Rozansky, research analyst at Global Energy Monitor.

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