New project focusing on energy efficiency kicks of in Skopje
On May 28, 2015, in the Macedonian capital Skopje, REC Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia brought together industrial companies, governmental institutions, stakeholders, academics and energy efficiency experts, as well as representatives of international organisations, at an event to mark the official launch of the project "Catalysing Market Transformation for Industrial Energy Efficiency and Accelerating Investments in Best Available Practices and Technology", the aim of which is to improve the energy, environmental and economic performance of the Macedonian industrial sector.
The 50 participants at the kick-off meeting expressed great interest in the project, as energy efficiency and energy use have become key aspects of the country's economy. Industry has been, and will continue to be, a major engine for economic growth and social development, both nationally and globally.
The main objective of the project is to raise awareness of energy efficiency for competitive and sustainable industries. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through a grant of USD 1.4 million. Co-financers, contributing a total of USD 5.9 million, are the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); the Ministry of Economy; the Ministry of Environment; the Macedonian Bank for Development and Promotion; the Energy Agency; Macedonian private companies; the Industrial Energy Management Project of United States Agency for International Development (USAID); the USAID Low-Emission Development Strategies Project; REC Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; and the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy of Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje.
In the opening sessions participants welcomed several distinguished guests, including high-level representatives from Macedonian governmental institutions, a UNIDO representative, and the director of REC Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Katarina Georgievska.
Katarina Georgievska opened the meeting by expressing her gratitude for the official start of a long-awaited project, underlining the achievement of establishing the crucial partnership of several governmental ministries and agencies, which will be of the utmost importance for the implementation of this project.
Vladimir Peshevski, deputy president of the Macedonian Government in charge of economic affairs, expressed his government's active support for the project and the currently excellent business environment, and expressed his expectations for a positive final outcome. He stressed that the active role and work of the Macedonian Government is to bring about the successful adjustment of the country's economy to climate change and to promote energy efficiency through the sustainable use of natural resources and by reducing GHG emissions, which will help to maintain macroeconomic stability and achieve green growth and development, new employment opportunities and prosperity for Macedonian citizens. The government's economic cabinet continues to lend its crucial support to increasing competitiveness and innovation within the country's industrial sector.
Macedonian minister of the economy, Bekim Neziri, expressed his appreciation and support for the project's potential for energy savings, which will contribute towards achieving the objectives of both the National Strategy for Improving Energy Efficiency and the accompanying Action Plan. He underlined that this project will make a significant contribution towards the implementation of the strategy, which will enable the use of energy management standard ISO 50001 at institutional level. "This project is one of the rare energy efficiency projects in industry that will contribute to improving energy efficiency in this sector", Neziri remarked.
Stevo Temelkovski, deputy minister of environment and physical planning, addressed participants with words of gratitude and encouragement for the past work performed in successfully preparing the project, noting especially the good cooperation with UNIDO. The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning will participate in the project on many levels by working to improve energy efficiency data management; evaluating the potential for the transfer of technologies to reduce the effects of climate change; and participating in trainings to strengthen technical capacity for the development, implementation and monitoring of industrial energy efficiency.
Marco Matteini, industrial development officer from UNIDO's Energy Branch, expressed his great pleasure at the launch of the project and its implementation over the next three years. As major changes can be expected during 2015, especially in terms of economic and social development, UNIDO believes that the project is hugely important from the country's environmental compliance perspective, for its productivity and profitability, and for moving towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The project aims to:
- strengthen policy and regulatory frameworks for improved, sustainable and energy-efficient performance in industry;
- accelerate the adoption and wide dissemination of industrial energy efficiency best available practices and technologies;
- save energy and reduce GHG emissions from the Macedonian industrial sector; and
- integrate energy efficiency into daily business practices.
The kick-off meeting received broad coverage from both local and national media.