Serbia: Emissions and environment costs for power utility EPS TPPs

8. January 2016. / News Serbia Energy

If Serbian companies had to pay for every ton of gases they let out into the atmosfere, Serbian power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije EPS alone would have to pay around 220 million euro per year according to some estimates. EPS operates with all coal fired power plants in Serbia.

Eventually Serbia is expected to enter the so called system of trade in emission of gases „guilty“ of climate changes, when it enters the European Union.

It is expected that the price of greenhouse effect gasses will rise significantly. The increase in price is inevitable since the global agreement on the reduction of climate changes was adopted in Paris. 195 states agreed that the global warming might be the biggest challenge for the mankind. Serbia is slowly preparing for this.

Those preparations will be pricy, because besides EPS, thermal power plants and private companies (a total of 130 companies) will be paying for the permits for the emission of greenhouse effect gasses. All of them are not even close to EPS regarding the level of pollutants they emit, even though it does not mean that the cost would be insignificant for some of these companies. EPS has enough financial problems without this bill, which can only be reduced by an investment into modern technologies which is again costly.

These are not the only measures Serbia must take in order to reduce climate changes. How much will it cost us wont be known at least till next year, when a national strategy should be written. Those who put filling the national budget and Serbian industry developement before ecology have no reason to be upset because of the Paris Agreemnt. This agreemnt does not make any obligations for Serbia apart from those that Serbia already accepted. However Serbia could even obtain more money from the developing countries fund for these measures. Although it is highly unlikely because there are more endangered countries even though according to the Climate Risk Global Index in 2014 we were the country most exposed to extreme weather conditions caused by the climate changes.

Even if we would give up any investments to alleviate the their impact, climate changes would cost us a great deal, Serbian participants at Paris Summit are warning us. Droughts, fires and floods, caused by global warming in the past 15 years cost more than five billion euro, says Danijela Božanić from the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment. Helath related costs for illnesses caused by gasses from coal fueled plants, which are considered to be the main cause of climate changes, are at least 1.8 billion euro per year according to the Health and Environment Alliance HEAL, says Miroslav Tadić from the United Nations Development Program UNDP.

Energy sector will be the main arena for Serbia to fulfill its national obligation for the global alleviation of climate changes according to the plan where we agreed to reduce the emission of greenhouse effect gasses for 9.8% compared to 1990. According to Božanić the changes mean introducing new technologies to increase energy efficiency. Meaning that we should put in order the distribution network, and prevent the electric power and heat from „leaking“ instead of arriving straight to households. In that way we would use less energy and therefore polute the atmosfere less. But that also means that some of the dated thermal plants will have to be shut down.

The other important thing are the renewable energy sources, from which we will be receiving 27 percent of electric power and heat by 2020. Currently we are at 21.2 percent. Renewable energy source technology is not so expensive anymore, so that the use of these sources becomes more rentabile compared to fossil fuels such as coal – says Božanić.

But as long as the heat and power generated from coal fueled plants is this low, she admits hardly anyone would buy renewable source energy.

Whether gradual abandoning of coal generated energy by the international community means that Serbia will have to turn to nuclear energy, Božanić could not say.

-It seems to me from all official and unofficial contacts that it is not likely. There are no nuclear power plants in the National Energy Strategy from 2025-2030 says Božanić.

However many fear that the fact that the veto on the construction of nuclear power plants was omitted from the strategy is more important than the fact that they were not mentioned in it. Since they are not strictly forbidden it is possible for them to be included in the strategy, transmits Serbia-energy.eu

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