Bioenergy in the Republic of Macedonia: Regulatory Uncertainties, EU Policies, and Civil Society Opinions Shape the Narrative
The continued expansion in the use of bioenergy is vital if the EU is to achieve its targets for renewable energy in 2020 and 2030. Several Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) are candidates for accession to the EU and this potential enlargement of the Union could extend the production of bioenergy to this region. This research explores the impacts of policies, regulatory frameworks, legislative environment and the role of civil society organizations in shaping the biofuel investment climate in CEECs. Specifically, we bring to light aspects that could hinder the potential introduction and development of bioenergy in the CEECs by using the Republic of Macedonia as the case study. We find the predominant resisting factors to bioenergy projects in the CEECs to be – legislative vacillations, regulatory reservations in EU policies, uncertainties in biofuel targets for the post–2020 phase and aggressive lobbying by the civil society on grounds of sustainability of biofuels. We believe that, for advanced biofuel projects to succeed in the CEECs, the challenge does not lie in commercialization of an unproven, new–to–market technology; the real test will be to see if relevant stakeholders can shape the narratives adopted by the EU for its post–2020 phase of the Renewable Energy Directive and ensure that the Government of Macedonia complies with its provisions.