The intense heat that caused the lowest water level in our country in the last ten years creates problems for the Electric Power Company of Serbia when it comes to electricity production, but they, at least at the given moment, are not such as to completely disable the operation of the hydro sector, according to local experts.
However, experts point out that the reduced volume of production in hydroelectric power plants is already causing a larger import of electricity than is usual for this period, which is on average about 200 megawatts per hour, and that if the drought lasts, that volume of import will be significantly higher.
These days, the media reported that the country’s power system is facing the lowest water inflow in ten years. Thus, in the previous two months, the inflow was halved. At the “Đerdap” hydroelectric power plants, which under normal conditions cover a quarter of electricity consumption in Serbia, the situation worsened further due to the fact that only 2,000 cubic meters of water per second arrives, which is three times less than the June long-term average.
According to Radmil Nikolić, director of energy production at Hydroelectric Power Plant “Đerdap”, due to the hydrological situation, this year will be weaker in terms of production, that is, it is expected that it will be less than the average by about 30 percent. It should also be emphasized that the reservoirs in the Drina-Lim hydroelectric power plant system are half-empty, and they supply the system with up to 12 percent of electricity. At the moment, the production in those hydroelectric power plants is one third less than that foreseen in the plan.
Nikolić pointed out that the hydrological situation is bad in the whole of Europe, due to insufficient snowfall during the calendar years 2021 and 2022, so the hydrology on the Drina and Sava is very similar to that on the Danube.
Otherwise, as the profession claims, the drought represents a great threat to the production of electricity from thermal power plants, because in their production process they use water from rivers to cool the technological process. When the water level is low, it becomes critical, and sometimes there is a preventive suspension of production in order not to damage the plants. This is the reason why certain power companies in Europe have announced that they will have to suspend some thermal and nuclear units due to the lack of water.
Dilojt Serbia energy expert Željko Marković tells Danas that the situation in Serbia’s hydro sector is difficult at the moment, that it creates problems in the operation of EPS, but that it is not such that it would completely stop the production of electricity in our hydroelectric plants.
– Currently, in its hydroelectric power plants, Elektroprivreda Srbije produces less electricity than is usual for this time of year. For example, in this period, production from the hydro sector can reach up to 30 percent of electricity, and now it is on average below 20 percent. It is the decline that created problems and caused the import of certain amounts of electricity even at this moment – our interlocutor says.
He adds that in the event that the drought lasts, that is, if there is no more abundant rainfall in the coming period that would increase the water level of the rivers, the volume of imports compared to the current one would have to increase. When it comes to the situation with the supply of electricity from hydroelectric power plants in Serbia during the winter period, Marković points out that there should not be such problems then because the water level in the rivers will increase significantly due to the melting of snow, Danas writes.