Weaning the Balkans off carbon, an EU-related conference in Kozani, Greece

European Commission officers, business owners and local government officials will attend a four-day conference from September 19 through 22 on “The transition of the Balkans to clean energy” in Kozani, NW Greece.

The conference is being organized by the EU-affiliated Cluster of Bioenergy & Environment of Western Macedonia (CluBE) and the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Kozani. It will focus on the issue of reducing the carbon footprint in alignment with a plan to turn the EU into a climate-neutral area by 2050.

Carbon and lignite, which the western Macedonia and other Balkan regions produce in abundance, is an important component of each country’s energy mix, Nikolaos Ntavos, manager of the CluBE, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA). “But the transition process will affect regions which are largely dependent on the coal sector and which must transition in the next decades to low-pollutant economies,” he added.

Davos said the conference will include technologies and issues related to clean energy, renewable energy sources, smart cities and cyclical economy, among others. It will also work to encourage involvement of the public in the issues “that will lead the Balkan region to the carbon-related transition,” he said.

The participants will exchange of know-how and experiences that will “lead to interactions that could diffuse across the Balkans,” promoting synergies of the public sector, research and entrepreneurship on local and regional level, he clarified.

The business sector “must become informed about what will really happen in western Macedonia following the complete withdrawal of the Public Power Corporation’s lignite units,” Chamber president Nikos Sarris noted. The chamber is particularly interested in plans for the day after in the area, the funding needed to support the region, and the future funding tools that will arise to promote this plan.

The conference will also include an exhibition of tools and technological solutions as well. The event comes under the aegis of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), and has the support of the Smart Cities Information System (SCIS) and the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC).