Serbia can spend the winter without importing electricity

, SEE Energy News

For months now, citizens of Serbia have been hearing every day how they should save electricity and how hard the winter is ahead of us. Energy experts point out that Serbia can, under certain conditions, spend the winter without importing electricity. If it still fails, we will import between 10 and 20 percent of the total electricity, but at what price, it is still too early to say, given that the prices of energy on the world market change from day to day.

As energy consultant Dr. Nenad Jovanović points out for “Nova”, at the moment, households and business entities in Serbia are supplied with electricity from domestic production.

Asked whether it is possible to “get through” the upcoming winter without importing electricity, our interlocutor points out that it is, but under one condition.

“If electricity consumption is reduced, then it is possible.” In the event that the consumption is higher and coal runs out, that is a problem, because then we will certainly have to import electricity”, explains Jovanović.

“If that happens, between 10 and 20 percent of the total electricity consumption will come from imports”, he adds.

As the interlocutor of “Nova” further explains, no one can say with certainty how much imported electricity will cost.

“Now the price is around 300 euros per megawatt hour, but the prices on the market change and depend on several factors, most of all on the price of gas.” “Therefore, no one can say with certainty now how much the imported electricity will cost us”, concludes Jovanović.

Are we living without imported electricity?

According to the data of the Electricity Network of Serbia (EMS), our country is still not completely independent of imported electricity.

Although electricity from exports was a small part of the total consumption in the previous days, the first half of November had significantly worse results.

The same site shows that the import of electricity varies significantly from day to day, and that, as experts regularly point out, it is almost impossible to specify exactly how much electricity we will import.

Three billion to cover losses

According to the report on the degree of alignment of planned and realized activities from the business program of the Electric Grid of Serbia (EMS), electricity costs for the first half of 2022 amount to, as planned, 196 million dinars. These costs refer to own consumption of transformer stations and electricity consumption for business facilities.

On the other hand, the cost of electricity that was used to cover losses in this period is significantly higher, amounting to more than three billion dinars.

“The costs of purchased electricity to cover transmission losses in the period from January to June 2022 amount to 3,180 million dinars and are 329 million less than those planned for the same period in 2022”, according to the Elektromreza report.

Also, during the formation of prices, the Government of Serbia intervened, which enabled Elektromreža to purchase electricity from EPS at a more favorable price.

“In order to reduce the negative effect of the increase in the price of electricity on the operations of Elektromreza Serbia, the Government of Serbia intervened and made a conclusion enabling EMS to purchase electricity from EPS at the price of reserve supply, starting from November 1, 2021, until the end of 2022”, according to the EMS report.

According to this report, EMS purchases electricity from EPS at a price of 66.72 euros per megawatt-hour.

Also, the president of the Departmental Committee for Economy and Finance and vice-president of the Freedom and Justice Party, Dušan Nikezić, recently told “Nova” that, in the first half of this year alone, EPS imported electricity for 610 million euros, while this amount will be increased by the end of the year. “climbed” to more than one billion euros.

According to estimates presented by the Fiscal Council in August, Serbia will provide between 500 and 550 million euros for the total import of electricity and coal during this heating season. According to that analysis, Serbia will import about 2,000 gigawatt-hours.

From whom do we import electricity?

According to EMS data, electricity exchange between Serbia and Hungary dominates, but there are also Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, North Macedonia and Croatia. By the way, we exported electricity to these countries, but we also imported it.

Another of the countries with which we will trade in the field of energy is Azerbaijan. As the Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović pointed out, the import of electricity from this country should start from January, if everything goes according to plan.

According to her, this contract with Azerbaijan, which government representatives previously said was extremely “favorable”, will provide additional security for Serbia’s energy sector. The minister added that the previously agreed amount of 50 megawatts in transmission capacity will be delivered.

On the other hand, energy policy expert Miodrag Kapor tells “Nova” that there is only partial information about this contract, which is problematic. He adds that there was primarily a problem with transmission capacities, considering that Azerbaijan is not part of the European system, and that the underwater cable has yet to be built. However, even if it is completed in a month, there are other factors that make the agreement with Azerbaijan problematic.

“With this agreement, many messages sends to the voters, and the first is that thanks to the president and his acquaintances, we will not freeze. Also, Azerbaijan is an autocratic state in which one family has been in power since the nineties, so we did not sign a contract with a democratic state. And if we really get electricity at a price lower than the market price, which is otherwise high, it means that we will give Azerbaijan something in return”, concludes Kapor, writes Nova.