Kevin Mitchell’s Remarks for SEEK Closing Conference
Kevin Mitchell, the Managing Director of Sector Operations Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), delivered opening remarks on the occasion of SEEK Program closing.
The majority of energy consumed in Kosovo is consumed by households rather than industry. This means that working with households to reduce their consumption is a critical component of developing a more energy-secure future.
MCC saw the potential for household energy efficiency subsidies in Kosovo to offer a triple benefit: (i) conserving energy especially during the winter when demand exceeds supply, (ii) raising awareness about the importance of energy efficiency and the impact that households can have, and (iii) making people more comfortable in their homes with better insulation, sources of heating, etc.
We set out to develop a program that would focus specifically on maximizing our learning. While there are international best practices for energy efficiency, a large-scale program had never been piloted in Kosovo, and we wanted to help the Government identify the most effective program for Kosovo specifically.
Through SEEK, we’ve retrofitted nearly 1,000 homes through three different grant windows. With each one we made some tweaks to the process and subsidies to test different models, and with each iteration we learned more about what was most effective. We are happy to be now passing that learning on to the Government and other partners working on energy efficiency, and we are eager to hear about your plans and next steps in this sector.
We are not only handing over a set of “lessons”, though. In the course of implementing the SEEK program, MFK and the implementing contractor GFA grew an impressive network of companies that have been trained and certified to do energy efficiency retrofits, an online platform for managing this program, and an impressive awareness-raising campaign about energy efficiency. These concrete assets and tools mean that Kosovo is well-positioned to expand energy efficiency programs in the near-term.
I would be remiss not to mention the current global energy crisis, which is alarming especially for countries like Kosovo that are looking ahead to a difficult winter season when demand for energy will once again significantly exceed supply. The case for investing in energy efficiency is even more compelling now than when we designed this program, and we are eager to support the Government and private sector partners to take advantage of the resources from SEEK to expand its impact.