SEEDS in Serbia: A Letter from Dan Berg, SEEDS Energy CircleSeptember 16, 2022
Dear SEEDs and CEC community,
I am so happy to continue to remain engaged with my SEEDs and Clean Energy Cooperative friends and family, despite having moved to Pittsburgh (permanently) and Belgrade, Serbia (for a 1+ year contract). The work we/you have been and are doing is so relevant on the other side of Pennsylvania and across the Globe.
In Serbia, I am currently Chief of Party for the Serbia Better Energy Activity – a USAID funded project. Unfortunately, Serbia is dependent on coal and imported gas to fuel energy and heating systems. This causes significant environmental and more recently energy security concerns. But, due to historically underpriced coal and gas, Serbs received subsidised home heating and power. Now, pressure is rising to increase tariffs (given world prices) and also to reduce pollution. Therefore, there is an increased focus on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.
Better Energy (a 5 year program with USD 10 m from USAID) supports numerous, cross-cutting1 tasks to achieve these goals. We are working with municipal heating plants to increase efficiency and reduce fuel usage. We are training municipal energy managers and housing association managers to analyze energy efficiency measures, and we can provide grants to support pilot building upgrades (apartment buildings in Serbia can lose 40-50% of their heat energy, see photo). We are able to support small investments for prosumers2 installing PV arrays. Finally, we should help develop a sustainable architecture for these activities — information, education, publicity and even financing instruments.
Honestly, billions will be needed to effectively renovate the Serbian energy system. With our small project, we are looking to best international experiences and using our grants and policy actions to leverage additional funds from government, companies, citizens, donors and banks. Education is vital.
In fact, I can turn to SEEDS for good examples. We are offering energy audits. We are offering advice directly to homeowners and soon through a website with handy tips on easy energy efficiency measures. We are reviewing the cost benefit of solar installations and seeking to increase public awareness on possible measures. And, we are hoping that our policy work will convince local governments and banks to adopt supportive policies.
Thanks again to you for all you do…keep the faith and blaze the trail.
[Included] is a photo of a building last winter — you can tell how much heat is leaking from the building — a lot of work ahead.
Dan is a SEEDS member and part of our Energy Circle, as well as a member of the Clean Energy Co-op. He sent us this letter August 4, 2022 and asked to share with the SEEDS Community. For more information on how to connect with Dan please email us at email@example.com.
1 Cross-cutting is covering numerous issues or activities. We cover many different aspects of energy efficiency through many different tools. Thus our efforts are cross-cutting.
2 Prosumers is a phrase used for producer/consumers. Anyone who produces own energy and may buy and sell to and from the energy grid.
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