Poland eyes green energy investments in Western Balkans: minister

WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish energy groups could invest in renewable power in Western Balkan countries that eye European Union membership, Jadwiga Emilewicz, minister for entrepreneurship and technology said.

Poland backs the EU bids of the Western Balkan nations, including Serbia, which is Warsaw’s biggest trade partner in the region, as well as North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegowina. In July, it will host a Western Balkans investment summit.

There is no unanimity within the EU bloc, however, over its future enlargement in the region.

The possibility of joining the EU, Emilewicz told Reuters in an interview, “is an important factor in the changes that may take place in the Balkans.”

Poland’s state-run energy groups could invest in green energy projects such as wind and solar in these countries, the minister said.

“We are aware that this region offers significant prospects for developing renewable sources of energy,” she added, referring to the region’s suitable climate.

Poland still produces most of its energy from coal but its energy companies are beginning to consider projects for more renewable sources of power.

State-run utility Tauron said in May it plans to replace most of its coal-burning power plants with renewable sources in the next decade to adjust to EU climate policies and secure future financing.

“Based on our own experience and on our painful example we can say today that transformation is expensive, but not doing it is also costly,” Emilewicz said, adding that Poland’s experience as a newcomer in the green energy field could be useful in Western Balkans.

PGE, Enea and Energa are among other Polish state-run energy firms.

Emilewicz said that the summit next month would be accompanied by a Weimar Triangle meeting – a platform of political cooperation between Germany, France and Poland to be attended by the three countries’ economy ministers.

“This will be an important political event,” the minister said without elaborating.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Clelia Oziel

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