8th Balkan Energy Finance Forum 2015

From October 20th to October 21st the Metropol Hotel, Belgrade, hosted the 8th Annual Balkan Energy Finance Forum. The conference saw regional and international energy financing experts sharing their experience and knowledge in talks and discussions. The forum, with the help of its gracious sponsors, the law firm Kranovic & Nikolic, the environmental services company Veolia, and the world's largest petrochemical market information provider ICIS as well as Balkan Energy media service, was a great success.

The opening address of the conference was given by its chairman, economist and academic Mr. Aleksandar Kovacevic. Here Mr. Kovacevic gave a general overview of the scope of the conference and the main discussion points, from the Energy community treaty that sets out new obligations to the EU, to emerging trends, such as a changing regulatory framework for renewable energy, and the consequences this will have for security of supply. Ilona Vari, head of EU regulatory affairs from Mol Group, picked up where Mr. Kovacevic left off: looking at how LNG and EU policy would affect the security of supply of gas to the region. Mr. Neil Budd of the London based legal firm Shakespeare Martineau and Mr. Shane Woodroffe of EnerCap Capital Partners both weighed in on the topic of renewable energy in the Balkan regions, looking at the regulatory framework and changing regional differences in the market respectively. 

After coffee and pastries the conference reconvened to discuss financing energy generation projects. Carrie Walczak from the Green for Growth Fund discussed the importance of risk management and assessing social and environmental impacts of any project. Hana-Muriel of the FK Group lent her very practical experience developing the first large scale project finance project in the region, a hydro-electric plant in Albania. Once the discussion was concluded the delegates left the conference room to enjoy lunch and drinks. After lunch, the developing and financing energy projects session was concluded with talks from both Serban Scrieciu, an Economic Analyst from the European Commission, and Costis Stambolis, Executive Director, IENE, who looked at energy efficiency and gas investments respectively. 

The final half of the first day of the conference saw discussions on both hydro-electric investments and energy efficiency investments, as well as talks from Wolfgang Kroepfl, Managing Director of Enso Hydro, Borko Raicevic from the Energy Community Secretariat, and Nikola Catovic from MACS Energy & Water, as well as a talk from the conference chairman, Mr. Kovacevic, on the topic of the Need for Energy Efficient Energy Policy in the Western Balkans, who also proceeded to give his closing remarks for day one of the conference. 

Day two of the conference opened with a session on the Balkan Power Market. Io n Lungu, President of the AFEER regulatory body, discussed the case of renewable integration in Romania and the effect of the introduction of green certificates. Milos Mladenovic, Managing Director of SEEPEX, then proceeded to discuss the latest developments in the opening of the new Balkan Power Exchange, a step towards further European power integration. The session closed with an engaging and energetic discussion about the future of the Balkan power market, with Mr. Nenad Stefanovic from AERS emphasising the importance of an increasingly liberalised market for liquidity and healthy competition, Dr Zinaida Dimitrijevic,from Elektroprivreda BiH discussed the peculiarities of the Bosnian division of the power market. 

The topic of biogamass and biogas featured prominently in the second half of day two. Some successful case studies on Biomass and Biogas. Francois Debergh, Veolia’s Regional Director for the Balkan Region, talked about Veolia’s experience opening biomass plants in both Poland and Hungary. Thomas Mitschke from GIZ followed up on this, talking about biogas potential in Serbia, and looked at the possibility of converting livestock waste into energy. Petr Machej, Director from Abengoa, talked about energy storage, and how it might be used to complement renewable energy to provide reliable electricity. The end of the conference saw a discussion about financing renewable energy projects. Representatives from both UniCredit and Erste Bank contributed with points from the regional banks’ perspective, while Goran Matovic discussed the need to replace aging capacity and where renewable energy would fit into this. Mr. Komazec concluded the successful conference with a few thoughtful remarks about how low energy prices will affect the future, the role of the government in energy investments, and the need for banks that are ready to take up the challenge of investing in the region’s energy mix.  

EEL Events thanks all who sponsored, partnered, and attended our successful 9th Balkan Energy Finance Forum 2016 and look forward to welcoming you back next year.

Image gallery