Bosnia: Environment directives for large coal TPPs may change energy balance and increase the net imports of electricity

23. July 2015. / SEE Energy News

EU environment directives indicate decommissioning or renewal of four coal fired power plants complexes, Tuzla, Gacko, Ugljevik and Kakanj.

Whether the European environmental rules will worsen the already difficult financial and social conditions in Republika Srpska and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina? That is the question posed after directives from Brussels according to which countries in the region should reduce emissions of hiking gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050th, what according to research of Network foundation for changes of South-Eastern Europe provides reconstruction or even the closure of four energy giants in BiH -thermal power plants Tuzla, Gacko, Ugljevik and Kakanj, and already in the next ten years.

In addition to the question of how really we pollute the environment, directives from Brussels are particularly concerned when it comes to Republika Srpska, what the position of the energy sector is – drives Gacko and Ugljevik are important part of it- the most important economic sector and source of income and jobs. Judging by the Energy Development Strategy of RS until 2030th, which adopted RS Parliament three years ago, shutdown of these plants is not an option, since it is, on the contrary, planned reconstruction of existing thermal capacities and construction of new ones, but with modern combustion technology.

Moreover, it is expected the increase in coal production and consumption in RS, mainly for power generation in thermal power plants, but states that these plans will depend on the obligations in terms of emissions limits. Milinko Milidrag, Director of TPP “Gacko”, which participates with even 29 percent in the electricity production in RS, briefly told us: “There is nothing of shutting down”. He explained that this thermal power plant is on the brink to meet environmental directives. Economist Zoran Pavlovic has no dilemma and says it is crazy to think about closing the local thermal power plants, if it is known that in the economically ailing country almost there are no other pollutants. He points out that the country that does not have anything to export, with the exception of electricity and raw materials, in the case of the closure of thermal power plants may be exposed to significant financial impact.

Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Knezevic from the Regional center for information and education on sustainable development in South-Eastern Europe in Sarajevo said that the EU climate policy increases the economic risk of building new power plants, and the insistence on the application of modern environmental protection regulations threatens the continued operation of existing ones. He argues that international environmental agreements – wrapped in suitable package of “environmental protection” – primarily have economic motives.

“There is no document that does not contribute someone on the economic plan, and where, on the other hand, one does not have to pay. In today’s developed world, nobody is doing anything to protect the environment, but because of the economy”, he says. SEE countries joined the Energy Community in 2005th, which were adopted to implement EU directive on the environment protection, appropriate to economic and other conditions in these countries. Knezevic says that according to his information, the European Commission aware of the fact that these standards – taken lightly because of the negotiators inability or desire lack for greater engagement – would be difficult to implement, especially in BiH and Serbia.

“Energy, climate and environmental policy of the EU consists in the expulsion of Chinese equipment from Europe, and European sales of equipment for flue gases cleaning of thermal power plants, special equipment for the electricity production from renewable energy sources. Of course, it cannot be said that there is not and environmental effects. This affects the thermal power plants in EU. It is not insignificant number of those who are excluded because their work is uneconomic because of fees imposed for the carbon dioxide emission. In recent years we have examples to build a power plant completely, and then put the key in the lock”, said Knezevic.

Coal plants are in line with the sustainable development of the countries of southeast Europe. The new generation of power plants has more than 20 times lower pollutant emissions from existing power plants. “There is an opinion, that I would support, which makes sense to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions in BiH only from TPP ‘Ugljevik’ and at the expense of both entities. As far as TPP ‘Stanari’, which will be put into operation next year, it meets current environmental regulations”, he says.

Area of Yugoslavia was a net importer of sulfur dioxide for more than 100 years, originating from the present EU countries. Today, says Knezevic, successor states of Yugoslavia are net exporter of sulfur dioxide, and there is base for the requirement to limit these emissions. “The only question is how these restrictions are viable for the economy of the countries of Southeast Europe. We can ask for help from the European Commission for the rehabilitation of emissions from existing power plants. But whether we will ask for? “Professor Knezevic asked at the end. , transmits serbia-energy.eu

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