Macedonia's economy is one of the most energy intensive in Europe due to obsolete and inefficient technologies. It has limited supplies of commercial energy resources, with domestic energy production covering about 60% of the demand. Energy imports are high, in the range of 40%, and have been increasing over the last few years. The country still must overcome a number of serious problems linked to its development and the growing energy demand: strong dependence on energy imports; unfavorable energy mix; lack of investment in new energy generation facilities, particularly of alternative energy sources; high energy use; and a high degree of inefficiency in energy production and use.
The agricultural sector is of critical importance to about half of Macedonia’s population. But the sector is ill-prepared to cope with the challenges that stem from the changing climate. The Vardar and Southeastern regions have already been particularly hard hit in terms of diminished precipitation, and already experience more frequent and intense drought conditions. These regions are also most at risk of extreme meteorological events such as forest fires and floods that have afflicted Macedonia in recent years. There is very limited awareness of the ongoing and future impacts of climate change, and a lack of funds for testing and demonstration of adaptive agricultural practices. Adaptive actions have been limited to spontaneous farmer responses.
From 2005 to 2011, USAID supported the establishment and growth of the plastic recycling industry in Macedonia, making Macedonia a leader in the region, significantly exceeding the EU target of recycling 22.5% of the country’s plastic waste. USAID is now working to reduce energy use and promote energy efficiency through the following activities:
Energy Efficiency and Clean Technology
Improving energy efficiency for the low-income housing sector – developing and testing market-based solutions for energy efficient reconstruction in collective housing units in seven municipalities.
Industrial management – introducing a systematic energy management approach in the industrial sector, to reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign fuel.
Enhancing the national capacity for low emissions development strategies (LEDS) – improving the national inventory system for greenhouse gas emissions and supporting the adoption of clean energy technologies and energy services. This is part of a collaborative effort to pursue low emissions development pathways and build a shared LEDS knowledge base in the region.
Supporting energy efficiency improvements through a Development Credit Authority (DCA) facility. The DCA provides access to working and investment capital to municipalities and private businesses that want to implement energy efficiency projects. This is a loan portfolio guarantee program through which USAID provides a 50 percent guarantee of the loan amount, thus sharing the risk with partner banks.
Global Climate Change
USAID is also working both with farmers and the rural poor to help them access the tools and strategies necessary for successful adaptation to the changing climate. Activities in this area focus on the following:
Municipal climate change strategies – working to strengthen civil society and raise awareness, boost activism, and bolster local resilience to global climate change. This effort focuses on several pilot municipalities, and uses the Green Agenda method, an innovative methodology that develops and implements local sustainable development strategies through active involvement of local community members.
Adaptation to climate change in agriculture – helping farmers mitigate the effects of climate change in the agriculture sector by disseminating technologies and improved farm practices that prevent crop loss, thereby preserving livelihoods. This effort includes a significant public awareness campaign to educate farmers, extension agents, and others on the proven benefits of the technologies and farm practices.
In Macedonia, USAID’s impact in the area of Environment includes the following:
• Helped 27 municipalities buy their first containers for primary separation of recyclable waste
• Helped the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning draft the Law on Packaging and Packaging Waste that was subsequently adopted, which generates private sector resources to fund collection and recycling activities
• Established a model for inclusion of the informal waste collectors in the formal waste management system
• Helped the Government of Macedonia to develop the Energy Efficiency Strategy and National Energy Efficiency Action Plan
• Supported the development of a completely new Energy Law and supporting secondary legislation that were adopted
• Demonstrated that energy efficiency upgrades in apartment buildings can result in energy savings estimated to be over 20 percent
• Supported renovations that led to the first solar school in Macedonia that can produce its own electrical energy
• Established seven orchard, vegetable, and vineyard demonstration plots for testing new adaptive techniques for decreasing the negative effects of climate change.
Last updated: January 23, 2014