Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Modernising the energy supply

Kosovo is one of the countries with the greatest deposits of lignite coal in Europe. To date, 97 per cent of the country's electricity is being generated by two outdated lignite-fired power plants. The two plants emit large amounts of greenhouse gases and cause high levels of air pollution.

View of a coal-fired power plant near Pristina, Kosovo

View of a coal-fired power plant near Pristina, Kosovo

View of a coal-fired power plant near Pristina, Kosovo

That is why Germany’s involvement in Kosovo originally began with an extensive programme to repair and modernise the energy supply system. The two lignite-fired power stations were upgraded and investments made to extend and consolidate the lignite mining industry. These measures helped to improve the electricity supply for private households, industry and commerce.

Integrating Kosovo into the south-eastern European electricity market is helping to provide a more steady power supply throughout the region. Germany is working closely with the EU on this. Among other things, Germany provided support for the construction of a power transmission line between Kosovo and neighbouring Albania.

Other energy-related measures being supported by Germany include modernising and expanding the district heating network in the capital Pristina. The new district heating network makes use of the heat generated by an existing power station (cogeneration system). Around 70,000 inhabitants are being supplied with affordable and reliable heating through the new upgraded district network.

Introducing an energy transition and making use of renewable energies

In order to support efforts to reduce the use of lignite coal (which has a detrimental effect on the climate) and introduce an energy transition, the focus of Germany's activities is now on fostering renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. It is estimated that the total energy consumption of all building stock could be reduced by 30 to 40 per cent. This could be achieved, for example, through increased use of solar installations to supply the energy consumed by individual buildings and by modernising air-conditioning, heating and ventilation systems.

The BMZ is supporting the Kosovar government in its efforts to encourage the private sector to invest in photovoltaic systems. A second phase of this project is to provide support for the use of new technologies through which solar energy can be used to power heating systems. There are plans to build an innovative HTES or high-temperature energy storage facility that will provide heating for 60,000 people living in the capital Pristina while, at the same time, significantly improving air quality for half a million people. So far, an HTES facility on this scale is being operated only in Denmark.

Sustainable urban development

Traffic in Pristina, Kosovo

Traffic in Pristina, Kosovo

Traffic in Pristina, Kosovo

Another area of intervention where Germany is engaged in development cooperation activities with Kosovo is sustainable urban development. The focus there is on drinking water supply and the disposal of wastewater and solid wastes.

A lot of progress has already been made in the water sector. The 825,000 or so inhabitants of the capital Pristina and its metro area today enjoy a 24-hour supply of fresh drinking water. As for the rest of the country, the connection rate there exceeds 90 per cent.

In Pristina and the urban centres of Prizren, Gjakovë and Pejë, the BMZ is financing the construction of the country's first sewage treatment plants. This means that around half the population there is benefiting for the first time ever from working sanitation; and substantially less untreated wastewater is being discharged into the country's rivers.

However, a great deal still needs to be done in the field of waste management. Illegal rubbish dumps are a widespread problem, posing a hazard for both the environment and people’s health. Germany is advising Kosovo on how to achieve convergence with the technical and environmental standards of the EU. Local authorities and wastewater/solid waste disposal utilities are being assisted in their efforts to set up economically feasible and environmentally sound waste management systems and to clean up illegal dump sites.

As at: 11/03/2022