Energy Summit: Are we ready for a sustainable and efficient supply of thermal energy with less impact on the environment and climate?

On Thursday, June 16, 2022, an online summit entitled “Are we ready for a sustainable and efficient supply of thermal energy with less impact on the environment and climate?“ was held.

The summit brought together over 70 participants representing ministries, policy makers, financial institutions, NGOs, professionals, designers, investors and other relevant stakeholders in the heating sector.

Through three sessions and a panel discussion, the summit served as a platform to present strategies, good practices and innovative technologies for sustainable heat supply, and to launch a constructive dialogue on the potentials and key challenges facing the Sarajevo Canton and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the heating sector, with a special focus on the use of renewable energy sources.

The first session of the summit was dedicated to the presentation of the Replace project, with a special focus on tools, Replace calculator and Heating matrices, and info materials – handbooks, which were developed within the project. Afterwards, the participants were introduced to the activities of the Replace campaign for the replacement of old heating systems, which is being actively implemented in the Sarajevo Canton, as well as the results achieved so far.

The focus of the second session was on renewable energy heating system technologies where heat pumps were presented as a system that end users increasingly opt for as an option in the replacement process, with the encouraging fact that the number of heat pump systems installed in BiH is growing exponentially every year. During this session, we also talked about the sustainable use of biomass for heating purposes, since forest resources are an important factor in the economic and social development of BiH. On the other hand, BiH has a highly unregulated biomass market, which leads to frequent price fluctuations and further complicates the end users’ choice of a heating system that uses biomass as an energy source.

The third session discussed the implementation of measures to improve energy efficiency and sustainable heat supply. At the beginning of the session, strategies and good practices from the EU and the region were presented (Replace Handbook of Good Practices). The session continued with an example of good practice from the Tuzla Canton region, where the Cantonal Government promotes and finances energy efficiency and sustainable heat supply measures every year in order to encourage their population to replace old and inefficient heating systems, where in 2022 alone, 175 such projects were funded.

At the very end of the summit, presentations and panel discussions were held in which great experts from the heating sector in BiH took part. The panel discussion was entitled “Challenges and solutions in the context of the use of renewable energy sources in the heating sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, and  just some of the conclusions of the discussion were:

  • It is necessary to clearly define the strategic framework, and then adjust the legislative framework for its implementation, as current regulations do not cover the heat segment, which significantly complicates the preparation and implementation of projects involving the transition to renewable energy sources in the heating sector.
  • Space must also be given to the professionals from the sector to work on the preparation and regulation of the legislative framework.
  • Financial aspects are predominant for end users in the context of making a replacement decision. It is necessary in the coming period to increase investments and incentives with more favorable conditions in order to encourage end users to replace, especially in this challenging period of crisis in the energy market. This primarily refers to measures of subsidies, grants, establishing financial models, etc.
  • It is necessary to balance different types of renewable energy sources – biomass, heat pumps, geothermal energy, etc. There is also a huge potential in increasing energy efficiency.
  • It is necessary to educate designers about new innovative technologies of heating systems, since in new facilities heating systems are still designed according to the old temperature regime.
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