The CO2 tax as a key tool for a successful energy transition
From 18th to the 20th of January, the world's leading experts on bioenergy from forestry and agriculture, electrical and thermal energy, mobility and science met at the 5th Central-European conference on biomass in Graz. On this occasion, the World Biomass Association, the European Biomass Association, as well as national associations from Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia signed the declaration of Graz, which contains the requirements of EU energy policy.
Key parameters defined in the declaration can be summarized as follows:
The text of the Declaration in English can be found below.
The Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Styria (LK Steiermark) published some animated footages on the use of biomass and environmental protection. Take a look!
Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antić, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali and the Swiss Ambassador Filip Ge, signed an annex to the Agreement for the project of the combined biomass heating-power plant in Padinska Skela.
With the Annex Agreement the funding for the realisation of the project is increased. Financial assistance from the Swiss government has been increased from € 6,418,200 to € 7,597,700 and from 435,000 Swiss francs to 973,400 francs, while the city of Belgrade provides co-financing in the amount of € 1,500,000.
The project envisages the construction of combined heat - power plant (CHPP) in Padinska Skela, which uses biomass for fuel, energy rehabilitation of the school "Olga Petrov" and hospital "Dr Laza Lazarevic", as well as building a heating pipeline.
More on the website of the Ministry of Mining and Energy.
Representatives of the Ministry of Energy, the City of Belgrade and the Embassy of Switzerland, signed, on Monday January 16th, an annex contract for the construction of a combined biomass heating-power plant in Padinska Skela, which has secured additional funding from the Government of Switzerland in the amount of EUR 1.2 million and 500,000 Swiss francs.
Also, at the end of December 2016, the company „Vinex Etil“ announced an investment of 5.8 million euros in the construction of the BIOENERGANA in Lukicevo near Zrenjanin, with the capacity of 2 megawatts. „Bioenergy point“, besides the existing factory for the production of pellets in Boljevac, started the construction of another such facility at the beginning of December, worth around 2 million euros, and a biomass power plant, which is an investment of additional EUR 7 million "heavy".
All these current - announced and already started - investment in biomass and its processing occur at the moment when the project BIORES, which introduces an innovative concept of biomass logistic and trade centers (BLTC) in Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria, is entering its final phase. The activities, that the National Biomass Association SERBIO conducted in cooperation with international partners from the European Union, began in January 2015 and is planned to complete the project by June 2017.
- Within BIORES project we should achieve three major objectives - to form between six and eight logistics and trade centers for woody biomass in at least two of the three countries (Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia), as well as to secure contracts for the sale of at least 8,000 tons of wood fuel and purchase adequate quantities of raw materials to produce these fuels. We are still working on these two goals, while the third - the training of 12 trainers who will hold further trainings to those interested in woody biofuels supply chains, as well as the presence of at least 400 participants in these trainings, is carried out - said in an interview for eKapija Vojislav Milijić, vice president of the National Biomass Association SERBIO and BIORES project manager for Serbia.
According to him, these centers should have optimized organization of trade and logistics, they shall be traded in different products based on biomass, and therefore it was important that they fulfilled some of the most important criteria: that the location has the necessary potential and resources, that the local administration is interested to contribute, that there are some interested private investors, and that there are consumer awareness and demand on the market. In these three countries were 15 such locations recognized, six of which in Serbia.
- There are already potential investors in Serbia, and we are currently working on two logistic and trade centers. Basically it comes to brownfield investments where there is already a basic infrastructure. In some cases, there is a lot of equipment, and it is necessary to adapt the space and purchase additional parts of machines. The amount of the investment depends mainly on the baseline, so in some logistic centers in Austria the investment was lower than 500,000 EUR, while in some centers in Germany there was several million euros invested - said Milijić.
Biomass could also heat greenhouses ...
When it comes to the provision of raw materials, the interlocutor of eKapija says that the demand for wood is big and that the forest owners and users are interested in cooperation, but their interest is "to create additional value and achieve better price."
- Selling quality wood fuel is something that will increasingly gain in importance in the future, and the importance of renewable energy sources, biomass in particular, has been recognized by representatives of the state. There is willingness for concrete support, that we have already received from the Ministry of Agriculture, and local governments - said Vojislav Milijić, adding that the project BIORES will employ large numbers of people, both at the logistic and trade centers, and indirectly, by engaging in the supply of wood , production and transport.
As for the potential of biomass as a resource in Serbia, our interlocutor explains that it depends on the type of biomass. If we are talking about agricultural biomass, Vojvodina is certainly the leading, primarily Backa. When it comes to the opportunities for energy plantations, there are good potentials in Banat, while in Srem there is a presence of agricultural as well as woody biomass.
With him agrees the Agroeconomic analyst Milan Prostran, which states that the annual capacity of biomass in Serbia is about 3.5 million tons, of which about 2 million in Vojvodina and 1.5 million tons in central Serbia.
- The potential is obvious, but still insignificantly used, because about this type of energy is seriously spoken only in the past decade. I think that the country has not yet sufficiently recognized the importance of biomass, which can be used for heating greenhouses, which would extend the season to the entire year - says Prostran in the interview for eKapija.
He points out that in Vojvodina the biomass is most present, which is generated from residues after harvest, or grain harvest, and recalls that numerous projects have already started, and that there are a briquette plant and insulation panels, which successfully operate.
It is necessary to develop the domestic market
Vojislav Milijić notes that woody biomass has significant potential in eastern, southern and western Serbia, but also draws attention to the complexity of raw materials, because we have to bear in mind the consumers. According to him, where there is potential, there are often no consumers, and the long distance transport - is not always cost-effective.
When it comes to placing biomass on the market, that also depends on the product. By wood pellets, after many years of dominance in export, there was a significant increase in demand in the domestic market. Wood chips has still a limited demand in the domestic market, while the demand for firewood is constantly growing, because it is used by households and producers of pellets and plywood. The demand for straw is still limited, but it is increasing.
- I think we certainly need to work on developing the domestic market, because if we strive for energy independence, we should not export biomass, which we will then compensate by importing fossil fuels - believes Vojislav Milijić.
He concludes that the project BIORES contributes to the promotion of renewable energy, but its aim is primarily to draw attention to the economic effects of use of woody biofuels and present models and ways to use them as an environmentally friendly, sustainable and cost-effective fuel.
Ecology is becoming increasingly profitable area as evidenced by billions invested in that area and millions of new jobs. "Green technologies" form 2.5 percent of the GDP of the European Union, and have brought 3.5 million jobs and are in constant development, according Economics online.
Serbia, on the other hand, allocates only 0.4 percent of gross domestic product for ecology, and experts say that anything under 1.5 percent is insufficient for the investment in the improvement of environmental quality. It is estimated that Serbia, which wants to join the EU, will have to invest about 10 billion euros in environmental projects in the next decade, according to the text.
In the negotiations with the EU, Chapter 27 which deals with environmental issues and climate change obliges Serbia to invest in the field of ecology. Of the total amount of assistance from pre-accession funds, which Serbia has received from the EU in the past fifteen years, a quarter has been devoted to environmental protection.
Since 2000, Serbia has invested nearly 700 million euros in environmental projects, of which have benefited more than one million citizens through a better supply of clean water and waste management services, cleaner air, safer management of hazardous chemicals, but also indirectly, through better general regulations in this area.
Compliance with stringent EU directives on ecology entails significant investments, which represents an economic potential. In fact, investment in infrastructure of "green technology" and circular economy opens up the possibility for new jobs. It is estimated that Serbia will need 10 billion euros for investments in environmental protection in the next decade. Most will be invested in water management, both in the water and wastewater treatment, as well as in the rehabilitation of industrial pollution and more efficient waste management, and funding will be provided through a variety of collaborative projects with the help of the EU. It is estimated that 150,000 jobs would be created in the next five years, through various branches of the "green economy".
Source: Economic Online
In 2016, Germany has been using more renewable energy sources (RES) than ever before, and almost a third of the electricity has received from the RES, writes portal Renewable Energy World.
The article stated that, according to the analysis of the German Association for the energy industry (BDWE) and the Center for Solar Energy (ZSW), Germany received 32% of electrical energy from the sun, wind and other renewable energy sources. More specifically, Germany has received 191 billion kilowatt hours from RES in the last year, which is a significant increase compared to 187 billion kilowatt hours produced in the previous year.
According to the plans of the German government, the share of renewable energy in electricity production is expected to reach a level of 35% by 2020, and this country is clearly on the right track to achieve this.
Source: Renewable Energy News
According to the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Value Added Tax, the trade and import of wood briquettes and pellets are going to be taxed at a special VAT rate of 10%.
According to the proposal, which is adopted and forwarded as urgent by the Government of the Republic of Serbia to the parliamentary procedure, the reduction of VAT for trade and import of wood briquettes and pellets from the current 20 to 10 percent, should contribute to an increase in employment in this field, which will also compensate the loss based on the reduction in the state budget.
It is proposed to apply the amendments of the Law on VAT from January 1st 2017.
The National Biomass Association SERBIO held the latest in a series of this year's information days on which citizens of Serbia got to know the possibilities and advantages of biomass heating. It was held in the framework of the Novi Sad Winterfest,
These campaigns for consumers are part of the major European project BIORES. In Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia, in which the switch from fossil fuels to woody biofuels is still at the very beginning, this project aims to raise awareness on how the use of biomass, especially pellets and briquettes that citizens can use to heat, reduces to the minimum the negative effects on the environment, but also ensures long-term economic sustainability and stability.
In addition to informing the individual consumers in Serbia about advantages of the woody biofuels, the association SERBIO promotes this renewable source of energy in great industrial and utility systems in Serbia, as well as local governments.
Currently, a large number of municipal heating plants burdens financially the local governments, so the transition from fossil fuels to woody biofuels could provide significant cost savings for local governments, given that the operational costs of biomass heating are lower than fossilfuel heating, and that the investment costs can be covered through a favorable loans that are available, or the development of the investment can be implemented through a public - private partnership.
According to the information from the Association SERBIO, about 20 central heating systems in Serbia is in various stages of project development at this moment, which include the replacement of fossil fuels with biomass. Some municipalities, such as Bajina Basta and Mali Zvornik, could have installed biomass solutions by the end of the season.
In order to use biomass as an energy source in a larger extent, SERBIO is working to develop the Serbian market, to guarantee a sufficient amount of biomass in continuity to businesses that exceed biomass, to solve the problem of its storage by introducing the innovative concept of Biomass Logistic and Trade Centers.
„Sustainable regional suply chains for woody bioenergy“
On Tuesday, November 22nd the National Biomass Association SERBIO, in cooperation with the PE National Park „Tara“ and the Finnish Institute for natural resources „Luke“, held a training on sustainable supply chains for woody bioenergy and biomass logistic and trade centres, on whose initiation in Serbia works the National Biomass Association SERBIO, within the European Project BioRES.
The training was a combination of theory and praxis, i.e. lectures and demonstration of logging and extraction of wood assortments and biomass.
The training was opened by the executive of PE National Park „Tara“, Dragić Karaklić, while the vice president of the National Biomass Association SERBIO and manager of the BioRes project in Serbia, Vojislav Milijić, had the honor to present the BioRes project and the concept of biomass logistic and trade centres. The representatives of NP Tara, Aleksandar Đurić and Branka Mitrović, presented the National Park, forest management planning in the National Park and ways of selling wood. The guests from Finland, dr Juha Laitila and dr Kari Pasanen, presented ways of using wood biomass in Finland, as well as the importance of the quality of wood fuel.
With the expert explanations by Dragan Đurić, the participants had the opportunity to become familiar with the work on the field: the process of marking trees for logging, tree felling, tree processing and tailoring, as well as extraction of wood assortments.
Polaznici treninga obišli su i preduzeće Gorštak doo, gde im je Dragan Stanković, rukovodilac prerade drveta u preduzeću, predstavio proizvodnju drvne sečke i peleta.
The participants also had the opportunity to visit the company „Gorštak“ d.o.o, where Dragan Stanković, manager of wood procesing, presented the production of wood chips and pellets.
„Sustainable regional suply chains for woody bioenergy“
During Saturday and Sunday, November 26th and 27th, the National Biomass Assocication SERBIO held a training on sustainable suply chains for woody bioenergy and logistics, on whose initiation in Serbia works the National Biomass Association SERBIO, within the European Project BioRES. The trainings are held in the framework of a multi-conference SERBIAN VISIONS 2016, a project of the German-Serbian Chamber of commerce.
The vice president of the National Biomass Association SERBIO and manager of the BioRes project in Serbia, Vojislav Milijić,pointed out that these local or regional centers with optimized organization of trade and logistics, where various products, based on biomass of standardized quality, are traded, are very important for the development of the energy sector in Serbia.
He explained that in the initial phase BLTC's can be a platform for marketing and sales, and that in the later stages they should develop into centers,wich have there own production, storage and logistics. In addition to the construction of these centers, the aim of the association SERBIO is to help ensuring the conclusion of a contract on the sale of on average at least 8,000 tonnes a year, which means 1,000 to 1,500 tons of energy in one center.
According to him, the key criteria for the opening of these centers are the existence of interested private investors and local administration, the existence of consumer awareness and demand on the market, as well as existence of potential. Based on that statement, there are already some potential locations recognized in Serbia, such as Nova Varoš, Priboj, Bajina Bašta, Šabac and Žitište.For four locations the feasibility study is already done, and by all accounts, the first logistics center will be opened in Bajina Basta, said Milijić. Also, he acquainted the trainees with the operational, investment and administrative costs, as well as the necessary technical equipment in the centers.
Ratko Todorović, B.E. in Forestry, spoke of the EU Regulation, wood trade and forest and products certification. He pointed out that the focus of the European regulation is on the ban of illegal felled timber trade and products of such wood in the EU market, and for this reason the operators must ensure the traceability of wood through the supply chain from the moment of logging onwards.
Đorđe Marić, Master Engineer in Forestry, recapped the supply and demand of biomass in the region and stressed the important questions that potential investors should pay attention to. He emphasized that it is important to know the quantity and quality of biomass, that is actually available in the chosen field and who are the potential suppliers and customers. He also explained, that the development of the BLTC is a very complex endeavor, that the methods, used to analyze environmental conditions, are the same as for any other type of investment and that in searching for sources of funding, all phases of the trend of replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources should be used. For the centers to be successful, he said, all the factors of supply chain of the BLTC must have the economic, environmental and social benefits.
Since January 2015, The National Biomass Association SERBIO conducts the project BioRes by the name „Sustainable regional suply chains for woody bioenergy“. The project aims to establish logistics and trade centers for biomass (BLTC) and to increase the market share of domestic wood fuel of controlled quality and from forests that are sustainably managed. The project BioRES has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon2020 Research and Innovation Programm, in which are included nine partners from seven countries: Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Finland, Belgium, Bulgaria and Serbia.
„Serbian Visions 2016“ was a good opportunity to promote the BIORES project and our current results, as well as to promote our mobile app „BioRES calculator“ and our manuals for wood biofuel standards and quality control, with the aim of promoting sustainable supply chains for woody bioenergy. Info days BIORES project held during Serbian Visions will continue in December in Novi Sad.