Serbia: EPS has no money for hydroelectric power plants, foreigners are not interested

6. February 2018. / News Serbia Energy

Recent claims by the Minister of Energy Aleksandar Antić that there are serious plans for the construction of hydroelectric power plants on the Ibar and Morava in the Electric Power Industry of Serbia are correct, however, primarily because of the lack of interest of foreign strategic partners, these projects are unfortunately on the “long stick”.

Therefore, this statement should be viewed more as pre-election marketing than the reality that will come in a close future period,” claims a source close to EPS for “Today”, which is familiar with the plans of the company.

Namely, during the commissioning of two revitalized aggregates in the hydroelectric power plant “Zvornik”, the Minister of Energy Antić stated that there is a “series of plans for the construction of Morava and Ibar hydro power plants, 150 and 120 megawatts.” We contacted the authorities in the Ministry of Energy and Electric Power Industry of Serbia to find more specific information about the announced projects, but until the conclusion of this edition we did not receive any response. On the other hand, our source claims that these are projects that have been in circulation for a long time, but that they are currently stalled.

– The problem is that EPS does not have enough money to implement these projects. Therefore, they need a partnership with some foreign energy company. There were plans in the past to, among other things, build hydroelectric power plants on Ibar and Morava, but they gave up at that moment when the effects of the global economic crisis began to appear. In addition, the obstacles to the realization of these projects are also the demands of local environmental organizations that consider it to be a disturbance of the natural beauty of those areas – our interlocutor says.

He adds that the plans for the construction of hydroelectric power plants on Ibar and Morava are serious and high-quality, but that the basic precondition, which is finding adequate funds, has not yet been fulfilled.

In other words, according to the information that “Today” came to, EPS, with the Italian company SECI Energia SpA within the company Ibarska Hidroelektrana (51% owned by SECI, 49% of EPS) is developing a project for the construction of 10 cascade hydropower plants on the Ibar, total power of 120 megawatts and a production capacity of 450 million kilowatt-hours. The investment is worth 330 million euros. A feasibility study with the conceptual design was made. It is necessary that the Italian government approve the fid-in tariff set by the interstate agreement concluded between the governments of Serbia and Italy, which ensures the cost-effectiveness of the project.

Also, Electric Power Industry of Serbia with the German company RWE plans to build five cascade hydropower plants on Velika Morava worth 360 million euros, total power of about 150 megawatts with an annual production of about 650 million kilowatt-hours. In addition to energy, the project also includes other forms of water use: water supply, irrigation and flood protection. A preliminary feasibility study with a general project was made and geodetic survey of the terrain necessary for the feasibility study was completed. The project is stalled because the RWE strategic partner is reassessing its strategy.

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