The era of net zero carbon and sustainability is coming faster than we think. Many countries around the world are facing difficult decisions, which is how to ensure economic growth and preserve jobs, while at the same time aim for a cleaner atmosphere. In order to understand the difficulty of these decisions, it is important to understand the energy framework.
Energy frameworks are similar around the world, but there are variations. There are several key participants and these participants make up the energy system. First participants are energy producers who make up the generation mix, these producers generate power from solid fuels, wind, sun, hydro, etc. Once energy is generated, a conventional transmission network (grid) is used for the delivery. Third participants are energy suppliers who sell the power to residential and business consumers.
Status of each country’s transmission network can vary in sense of their infrastructure lifecycle and how effectively above participants coordinate their efforts between themselves. Generation mix also varies for each country. Investments to modernize energy infrastructure and to transition to a cleaner generation mix, will depend on the economic strength of each country, government interest, and citizens’ awareness.
In economically developed countries, we can see residential and business communities rely on power from on-site generation such as solar, biomass, wind, etc. Less economically developed countries are lagging behind in the process. Modernization of the energy system and the transition to net zero carbon, renewable energy and sustainability, varies depending on countries natural resources, technological advancement, state interest, and the overall level of education.
Each country has a different combination of power generation. When it comes to the Balkan region, Serbia is obtaining 70% of its electricity from solid fuels, while Croatia produces 60% of electricity in hydropower plants. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a strong overall capacity being an exporter of electricity, which generates 40% from hydropower potentials and 60% from the combustion of solid fuels.
Today we see movements to put climate change as a number one priority for governments worldwide. Ordinary people want to see new policies or agenda created that will initiate the world for a cleaner atmosphere. Such movements are growing every day with the final goal to keep our planet clean. Depending on the strength of the various lobbies supported by interest groups, will also depend on the progress made in this initiative.
These movements are unfortunately less active in Balkans and not as influential as in the West, but their role is growing every day. Among the biggest polluters are solid fuel power plants. Analyzing three countries of our region, Serbia with 70%, Croatia with 40% and Bosnia and Herzegovina with 60% of production from solid fuels, it is obvious that the future will bring fundamental regrouping of the generation mix.
As Bosnia and Herzegovina is an exporter of electricity, it is also positioned as a key regional player in terms of its production. Therefore, Bosnia could be a leader launching new projects that will help with a net zero carbon agenda. These changes are inevitable and it is necessary to follow world trends. Sooner or later we have to complete that process. We are witnessing the changes that have taken place in the United States with the arrival of the new administration of President Biden, who announced the investment of 2 trillion USD for sustainability and achieving net zero carbon by 2050.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s main obstacle on the path to energy modernization is an inefficient political system. With a cohesive approach at the state level, Bosnia and Herzegovina should promote a net zero carbon and sustainability agenda, and follow the EU directives it signed in 2006. Since then, our country has a legal obligation to fulfill all the obligations it has undertaken. Unfortunately, due to blockades and local interests, this is not yet possible. Regardless of the obstructions, the time will come to fully comply with European regulations. Once the commitments are met, it will be an additional driver for investments and accelerated development. The energy sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be one of the strategic sectors of the economy that would positively affect investments in other industries. Most importantly, the energy sector has the capacity to influence mass recruitment and create new jobs. Overall economic growth and rise in standards can be achieved by a strong energy sector. Examples of other countries that have come a long way in these processes can guide us. It is no longer a question of whether we will have to adjust, but just how much time will we waste before we realize it?