The Western Balkans as a whole faces significant energy challenges and is actively seeking greater energy production in order to meet growing local consumer demand and provide export opportunities to neighboring countries. As a result of the region’s transition from being the former Yugoslavia, much of the energy infrastructure was neglected and damaged, which has compounded the challenge of providing reliable energy supplies throughout the region. Many of the region's electricity systems are fragile and in heavy need of investment. Efficient energy production is very important for the continued economic development of the Western Balkans, and investment opportunities for American companies in this industry are available.
For the Western Balkans as a whole, a key element of the energy production reform effort is the Energy Community Treaty – a regulatory and market framework now agreed upon by the entire region. This treaty will create an integrated regional market for electricity and gas compatible with the European Union’s internal energy market.
Currently most all countries within the Western Balkans use thermal power to supply their energy production demand; however, environmentally friendly solutions are becoming more and more popular. Energy production using renewable sources is the direction that the region is heading. Of course, the main difference in the methods of renewable energy production existing throughout the region depends on the types of renewable sources each individual country has at its disposal.
The aim of the U.S. – Balkans Business Summit is to introduce summit participants to the current state of energy production and supporting infrastructure development in the Western Balkans, and the business opportunities associated therewith. American businesses can play a vital role in developing energy production in the Western Balkans.