Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Future of Coal Passes Through Kosovo

A 1930s-vintage coal plant in Kosovo (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
In 2013, the World Bank pledged to stop loaning money for new coal energy projects, unless no financially feasible alternatives exist.  President Obama has said the same for the United States, in a 2013 speech: “I’m calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas—unless they deploy carbon capture technologies, or there’s no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity.”

In Kosovo a proposed coal-fired power plant has been under discussion for over a decade. The prime funders, ironically, are the World Bank and the U.S. government.

The landscape of energy no longer favors coal.  Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies costs continue to plummet.  The World Bank and the U. S. government’s decision to fund this project or not will set a critical precedent for the future of coal financing, making Kosovo the global gatekeeper for new coal projects.

Solar hot water and IT in Prizren, Kosovo (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
In fact, coal has become an increasingly risky investment in terms of energy, climate, and health.  In a recent analysis performed in conjunction with colleagues from the Balkans we have found that the clean energy path is not only better for human and environmental health — it is simply less expensive.

The World Bank and the U.S government now have the opportunity and to set the international energy and climate investment agenda.  Distributed renewable energy resources and energy efficiency are simply faster to deploy to meet local needs than the arduous process of building out new centralized coal facilities.  Delay on adopting a clean energy policy for the region slows down not only the provision of critically needed energy resources that can spur economic growth, but also the larger process of EU integration, which is a regional priority.

Read more at The Future of Coal Passes Through Kosovo

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