Vučić: "I hope that no one will mind the sun"

Earlier today, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, met with the representatives of the UGT Renewables LLC.

Source: B92
Foto: Printskrin, Instagram/buducnostsrbijeav
Foto: Printskrin, Instagram/buducnostsrbijeav

The Agreement on Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Government of Serbia and the representatives from UGT Renewables LLC. The document was signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic and CFO of UGT Renewables Peter Goodall.

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić stated that the negotiations with that American company deal with renewable energy sources, and construction of the solar park covering 2,000 hectares in total at a dozen locations all over Serbia. After the discussion and signing a Memorandum of understanding with UGT Renewables, Vučić said that the project could represent the beginning of a new era and an important step into the future of Serbia's energy security.

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić said that "not so easy talks about the conditions" are ahead.

"Still, I believe we will make the best possible deal," he said.

As he said, the project is of crucial importance for economic development and success in terms of Serbia’s green agenda.

Energy security and clean air

The president announced that solar panels on an area of about 2,000 (at a dozen locations in the country) will be installed, with a total output of a gigawatt of electricity, or about 3 percent of the total electricity production in our country,

"This would reduce the number of harmful gases by 1.9 million tons. The total CO2 emissions in Serbia are 51 million tons," the president noted.

This business will contribute not only to economic growth but also to energy security and safety.

"I hope that no one will mind the sun, although I expect that such think-thanks could also appear," he said.

The air will become cleaner and people will be happier.

"Financially, this is important, because we will be able to maintain a better energy balance and we will be less dependent on others," Vucic pointed out.

The President also referred to the situation in public companies in Serbia, where, in his opinion, things have still not changed significantly.

Vučić expressed hope that we will have cleaner air within a two years period.

More focus on the local community

When specifying the locations for solar parks, UGT Renewables paid special attention when it comes to the environmental impact of the project on the local community, and in Serbia these solar parks plants will be built by two domestic companies, as announced today by the financial director of the American company, Mr. Peter Goodall. He pointed out that UGT Renewables is a leading American company for the production of solar energy and that he is pleased that the interest was shown by the Serbian Government.

"Today we see accelerated growth in the Serbian economy, coordinated structures within the energy sector, and based on the initiative of Minister Mihajlovic and the President of the Republic, we came to execute this project. This means that this economy has greater demand for electricity supply, but also to renew its capacity to start the energy transition," Mr. Goodall said.

He also noted that there is a good combination of thinking in Serbia on how to progress within the energy sector.

"Therefore I am really delighted that we have the opportunity to cooperate with the Serbian Government and to work on developing new solutions that will help boost economic growth, as well as regional economic growth and contribute to energy security and transition in Serbia," Goodall said.

He also pointed out that one of the priorities when UGT chooses a place for the installation of solar panels and accompanying installations are to focus on the so-called brownfield land.

"That is one that currently has no great economic value, but can be used for new projects. Similarly, we will work with different ministries to choose the best places here, but each time we choose the location we must pay great attention to the impact on the environment and local community and we talked about that with the president and with the Export-Import Bank of the United States,” Goodall said.

He did not want to give projections on new jobs that should be enabled by this project, but he said that the new jobs will be created during the construction of solar parks.

"We will work with two local construction companies, so that there will be an immediate impact on job creation and opening of new positions at an early stage. We are also focused on transferring knowledge to local users and companies that should run and maintain these plants, so that all this leads to economic benefits of local communities, also in terms of their skills and employment, "Goodall pointed out.

Taxes related to CO2 emission

Responding to journalists' questions about taxes related to CO2 emission, the President of Serbia stated that the matter was postponed to 2026, and that the essence is that the problems are unavoidable.

"Montenegro would have greater damage, then BiH, and then we would have increased costs. But we will see how it runs because the application of that tax has been postponed. It is important that we do everything we can to have as many renewable sources as possible" he pointed out.

He said that "no one wants to use the wind potential, because that kills birds."

"I'm waiting for someone to say that solar panels are also harmful, that wouldn't surprise me either. We definitely have to find solutions," he said.

He added that he "couldn’t guess" that we would come to the point to consume so much gas, and that we could burn over 5-6 billion cubic meters of gas in 10 years.

"And that will happen tomorrow," Vucic warned.

Support by the USA

The US Ambassador in Serbia, H.E. Anthony Godfrey thanked President Vučić and Minister Mihajlovic for opening the doors of the Serbian economy to UGT, which he referred to as a truly innovative American company.

"I congratulate you and your associates on all the steps you have taken to make the energy sector of the Serbian economy becoming more competitive and dynamic. With the new laws on renewable energy sources, Serbia has adopted EU standards, which significantly improves funding conditions for the production of green energy in Serbia and which ultimately brings lower prices to energy consumers and cleaner air for everyone," Godfrey said.

He added that the American embassy and American companies fully support Serbia's aspirations in this sector.

"I believe that projects like this can increase Serbia's energy stability and support its national plan for adaptation to climate changes. The United States and Serbia are aware that the key to progress lies within business relations and investments in new technologies," said Ambassador Godfrey.

He also noted that the two countries can and must develop economies and create new jobs, while looking for a solution to the biggest challenge of our time, global climate change.

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