Serbia has witnessed continued growth in the installed district heating capacity and annual sales have increased more than 50% in four years, from 303 million EUR in 2009 to 478 million EUR in 2013. The district heating sector in 2013 received 50 million EUR of investment and served over a quarter of the population through fifty-seven district heating schemes. Serbia introduced a national regulatory framework to achieve the European climate targets and there are ambitious plans for the development of district heating within the national energy strategy.
As demonstrated on the graph, Serbia utilises a wide-range of fuels to satisfy heat demand. In 2013, the largest contributor to heat supply was electricity, due to the low cost of power, with approximately one third. This was followed by district heating at 27% and renewables at 19%, as many single-family homes in Serbia utilise biomass. Furthermore, heat pumps using geothermal energy are acting as a competitor to district heating , and district heating often prevails where both a district heating and natural gas connection are available.
There is little district cooling in Serbia as the investment payback period is so long, due to the low price of electricity and small amount of waste heat used. However, attempts are being made to improve the framework conditions for district cooling, but the market is not expected to see a significant increase. Combined heat and power (CHP) supplies 2.5% of Serbian electricity production, but plans to expand gas plants are problematic due to the high gas and low power prices.