US Dollars amount of Bankable Projects Identified:
454 million
Number of Cities Engaged:
Number of Deep Dive Actions:
Number of Partners Engaged:
Number of Trainings Delivered:
Is District Energy incorporated in national policy?

Why Serbia

District heating in 59 cities in Serbia has an aggregated heat production capacity of 6,700 MW. However, there is very low penetration of renewables and waste heat, down to barriers such as a lack of finance and institutional capacity, lack of holistic planning in cities, and a lack of technical expertise on renewables, PPPs and innovative business models. Cities need support and funding to identify, plan, assess feasibility, procure and attract 3rd-party financing for projects in order to meet national energy policy ambitions on renewable DH.

Belgrade has the largest district heating system in Serbia and one of the largest in Europe. The network is 1,420 km long and supplies heat to approximately half of the city’s buildings. Enhancing renewable energy and waste heat to the system is a priority for the city. Belgrade is the only city in the world to be the pilot city of both the District Energy in Cities Initiative and the SEforALL Building Efficiency Accelerator. Estimates from the city-owned district heating utility’s development strategy indicate that €380 million ($454.5 million) of investment is needed over the next 25 years to modernize and expand the network, which could take the system from less than 1% renewable energy today to 65% renewable or recovered heat. Demonstration projects in Belgrade could help accelerate the market for such technologies in Serbia.


National Steering Committee

The National Project Steering Committee (NPSC) is under establishment and will include representatives of ministries, GEF Operational Focal Point, Initiative’s Secretariat and UN Environment regional/country office, and the City of Belgrade as observer. The roles of the NPSC include oversight of project implementation, overall guidance and strategic direction to the project, and identifying opportunities for national scale up, including funding opportunities.

Multi-stakeholder group

The multi-stakeholder group has been formed in September 2017 and has an advisory role and will accompany and provide strategic and knowledge support to the City of Belgrade and the District Heating Utility Company. This coordination group is comprised of representatives of local and national government, faculties, civil society organizations, technical and financial services providers, representatives of local utilities, housing corporations and international finance organizations.

National Partners

CTCN, which provides technical assistance in development of the renewable sources assessment.

CENER21, a network of private consultancies, which contributes in-kind support towards prefeasibility studies in Belgrade.

University of Belgrade, which provides technical support and guidance in development of the DH systems assessments and recommendations.

Optit, Italy, which provides technical support in development of the deep assessment, i.e. development of the optimal models for DH system in Belgrade.

Danfoss, Denmark, which hosted a study tour for the city of Belgrade.

EBRD, which provided a technical review of the Terms of Reference for the ‘deep dive’ assessment and analysis of the necessary investments to be made in Belgrade

Veolia, Thermaflex, Dalkia, Carbon Trust, all of which provided technical input to the workplan in Belgrade

Expert Working Group

The Expert Working Group provides technical input and guidance in development of the Initiative’s outputs, bearing in mind the state-of-the-art solutions in district energy. Their participation is ensured remotely through Skype and emails. The group is made up of Danfoss, Veolia, Engie, Thermaflex, Carbon Trust, DBDH, BPIE, Ministry of Finland, King and Spalding, and SSG.

The Initiative in Serbia

The Initiative has established the Local Multi-stakeholder Group and a Belgrade Expert Working Group of partners interested in supporting the city. The Working Group helped finalize the work plan and participated in the national consultation, kick-off workshop and mapping workshops in Belgrade.

A deep-dive assessment has been initiated in Belgrade, with a team of local and international consultants developing the city-wide master plan and pre-feasibility study on interconnection. With CTCN’s technical assistance, another pre-feasibility study on solar thermal is being undertaken with in-kind support of the Korean Government.

A report on integration of district energy and buildings efficiency has been developed with Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE).

The Initiative’s work in Belgrade will be publicly available for cities in Serbia and globally, enhancing availability of European case studies and knowledge in contexts where district energy is already deployed but requires modernization and effective integration into city infrastructure.

Key achievements to date

Belgrade as a pilot city

In 2016, Belgrade has been selected as the only city in the world to be the pilot city of both the District Energy in Cities Initiative and the Building Efficiency Accelerator. In September 2016, a joint workshop was organized to kick-off work in Belgrade, which was followed by a series of trainings, including an energy mapping training in June 2017 that resulted in an energy map of one area in Belgrade. The two initiatives have worked together to develop the “Aligning district energy and building energy efficiency – Belgrade - A view on strategic integrations” report, which was finalized in September 2018.


Rapid Assessment indicated two main focus areas

A rapid assessment for the district heating system in Belgrade was developed in October 2017, where two main potential work streams were identified: district energy system interconnection and integration of renewable energy sources. Based on the results of the rapid assessment, the city has further engaged in undertaking a deep-dive approach.


Deep dive assessment kicked off: bring projects to market

The Initiative has launched the deep assessment of district energy in the city in June 2018 that has focused on identifying two high-priority projects. Building upon the existing Belgrade’s District Heating Strategy and findings of the deep assessment, the Initiative is also developing a 15-20-year District Energy Action Plan of actions, policies and investments to deliver Belgrade’s full potential for modern and energy efficient district energy. Two high-priority projects were identified, district energy system interconnection and district heating solar thermal. With support from CTCN technical assistance and the Korean Government, KDHC and Yujin Energy have initiated work on delivering a study on solar thermal district heating project that is expected to be finalized by end of 2019. In parallel, local District Energy in Cities team is working with the city of Belgrade and Belgrade Utility Company on undertaking a study on interconnection potential, developing an interconnection model with support from Italian Optit. The model will result in 10-15 different optimal scenarios, after which most viable ones will be proposed for investment.

The Initiative provides international expertise to support the deep assessment, and is working with the city to attract investment in the demonstration projects and deliver wide-ranging trainings that can be scaled-up across the region.


Identifying renewables potential

The latest developments in the interconnection study and results of optimization modeling showed clear focus on three major sub-grids. The analysis was conducted of 40-50 potential scenarios to determine the ones with the best trade-off between investment costs and technical benefits. Building upon these results, the pre-feasibility study will provide technical and economical insights in future infrastructure investments and their impact on operations.

As for the study on solar thermal, the considerable potential of the study has been recognized by EBRD, which expressed strong interest in supporting KDHC and jointly undertaking further activities in this regard.

In addition, two trainings of trainers envisaged by the workplan were held in Belgrade on the topics of: (1) Integrating district energy into local planning policy and (2) Energy mapping of the city to identify long term opportunities for district energy systems. The trainings were attended by representatives of DH utilities of several cities in Serbia, primarily technical and professional staff, as well as representatives of local self-governments. The goal of the trainings was to raise awareness, improve understanding of the need for strategies and policy planning adjusted to local circumstances in the area of district heating, as well as the importance of coordination between relevant stakeholders in that process.

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