Bosnia and Herzegovina, Court annulled EIA study for TPP Ugljevik 3 project

, SEE Energy News

The District Court in Banja Luka annulled the decision of the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of the Republic of Srpska (RS) on the approval of the final Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for the construction of coal-fired thermal power plant Ugljevik 3.

This court decision was made in the procedure initiated by the Center for the Environment in March 2022 by filing a lawsuit against the mentioned Ministry due to the approval of the EIA study. Numerous procedural deficiencies, the lack of an adequate assessment of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide emissions, are the reason for filing the lawsuit. The main argument of the court, while respecting the allegations in the lawsuit, is the premature decision, which prevented the participation of the interested public in neighboring countries.

In March 2011, Government of RS has approved a letter of intent submitted by Comsar Energy Limited regarding construction of second unit in TPP Ugljevik. The investor was selected based on unsolicited bid, without publishing public invitation. TPP Ugljevik 3 will have two 300 MW units and overall cost of the project is estimated at 750 million euros.

The joint venture agreement for construction of TPP Ugljevik 3 was signed in July 2011 by the RS Government and Comsar Energy. Comsar Energy is obliged to invest 90 % of the funds, while the coalmine and TPP (RiTE) Ugljevik should invest 10 % of the necessary funds. The government will hold 10 % stake in the joint venture company, by investing the land and existing infrastructure at the site of TPP Ugljevik, while CE will own 90 % stake. TPP Ugljevik 3 would export its entire output to foreign markets and it will not be competitor to local power utility ERS. The construction of the plant has not started yet.

In 2018, Russian company asked RS Government to extend the concession granted for the construction of TPP Ugljevik 3 for an additional 15 year or the company will give up the investment. The request includes the extension of the concession period from 30 to 45 years, because the current concession period of 30 years is deemed unprofitable due to lower electricity prices. At the same time, Comsar Energy requested to reduce the power output of the future plant from 600 to 350 MW. However, in early 2020, Comsar Energy requested that the installed capacity should be increased to 700 MW.

In early 2021, RS Government once again met the request of Comsar Energy and extended the deadline for the construction and usage of coal- fired thermal power plant Ugljevik 3 to 44 years. Previously, Comsar Energy requested for its concession to be extended from 30 to 45 years.

In June 2021, Chinese companies China Electric and Sunningwell International announced that they have signed an agreement on the construction of TPP Ugljevik 3, which would be their first project in the European market. However, It was not clarified whether the Chinese companies will be partners of Comsar Energy, which is the holder of the concession for the construction of TPP Ugljevik 3, or will take over the project completely. Comsar Energy said that it is currently in negotiations with strategic partners regarding the Ugljevik 3 project, without providing any details.

In September 2022, Serbian member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik sad last week that RS will takeover the two projects for which Russian Comsar Energy has previously obtained concessions. This includes coal-fired thermal power plant Ugljevik 3 and hydropower plant Mrsovo.