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German ex-minister to negotiate Kosovo, Serbia power grid row

German ex-minister to negotiate Kosovo, Serbia power grid row GazetaExpress

Former German Environment Minister, Klaus Töpfer, has visited Kosovo on Tuesday and met the Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to negotiate the outstanding dispute between Kosovo and Serbia, which has affected Europe's power grid. Töpfer has been appointed as mediator to solve the dispute which made Europe clocks go slow.

The Prime Minister Haradinaj issued a press release Tuesday thanking former German minister for his engagement on settling this dispute and promised cooperation in solving this issue as soon as possible. Haradinaj assured that the Government of Kosovo is committed to solving the power grid problem. He asked international community as well as the Government of Serbia to implement the Agreement on energy which was reached between Pristina and Belgrade during the EU-facilitate dialogue in Brussels.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Kosovo has found a short-term fix for a gap in Europe’s power grid which has slowed electric timers across much of the continent, but officials warned on Tuesday the problem may re-emerge unless a network row with Serbia is resolved for good. European grid lobby ENTSO-E said last week the continental European network had been short of 113 gigawatt-hours of energy because Kosovo had taken more power than it produced while Serbia, which is in charge of balancing Kosovo’s grid, had failed to fill the gap between mid-January and March 7. As a result, the European network’s frequency had deviated from its standard of 50 Hertz (Hz) to 49.996 Hz and some electric clocks, steered by the frequency of the power system rather than by a quartz crystal, have lost nearly six minutes. “We have already returned 20 percent of the missing energy and that energy will have to be compensated by the end of this month,” a senior Kosovo energy official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. He said the government had allocated 1 million euros ($1.2 million) to buy electricity to compensate for the shortfall and avoid any similar problems in future. But ENTSO-E, the association of European grid operators, said the country of 1.8 million people might need between 4.5 million and 5.6 million euros to compensate for the shortfall. “If there is no more money then we will have the same situation again,” the Kosovo official warned. Officials say the problem emerged after a Pristina court ruling in December to end a practice by which Kosovars living south of the River Ibar had been receiving higher bills to compensate for power consumption by Serbs in the north of the country, who do not recognise Kosovo institutions and refuse to pay the Kosovo grid operator. Following the court decision, Kosovo’s energy regulator ordered its grid operator KOSTT to trim the tariff by 44 percent. Serbia’s grid operator, EMS, has obstructed KOSTT’s efforts to become a full-fledged ENTSO-E member though KOSTT says all requirements have been met. Both countries in 2015 signed an agreement on operating their grids, but it has never been enacted. The two sides have conflicting claims about ownership of the power grid in Kosovo, built when it was part of Serbia.

    Date: 13 March 2018 17:44
    Author: GazetaExpress