Serbia: Windparks, status of ongoing projects

, News Serbia Energy

Certainly, one of the biggest challenges of today is to find a way to satisfy the ever-growing need for energy, at the same time minimizing environmental pollution. Using ecologically cleaner energy will be one of the priority tasks within the Serbian energy sector on the way to the European Union. The current situation is such that the energy stability of our country depends on coal production. The participation of coal in electricity generation is around 64 percent, whereas the rest includes RES, among which hydroenergy prevails with a 35 percent participation. By the year 2020, efforts will have to be made so as to change this ratio. In the Decision of the European Parliament about the progress of Serbia for the year 2013, it has been estimated that Serbia falls behind other candidate countries when it comes to using renewable energy sources and that it makes very little progress within the field of environmental protection and prevention of climate changes.

During the year 2008, the Ministry of Mining and Energy signed protocols on cooperation for the implementation of several projects, such as the Wind park Bavanište (investor Wellbury Wind Energy), Wind park Bela Crkva (investor VPBC Vetar), Wind park Dolovo (investor Loger d.o.o. ). The same year, the Protocol on the implementation of project „Wind park Kanjiža – renewable energy sources, wind energy“ was signed in the municipality of Kanjiža. According to the protocol, the municipality of Kanjiža was to be among the first to obtain 150 megawatts of clean energy from wind. Serbia still cannot count on the kilowatts from this wind farm.

The municipality of Kovin has also been waiting for its wind farm for several years already. As it has been announced, the erection of the wind park „Čibuk 1“ could start at the end of 2014 or at the beginning of 2015. The project will be implemented by the company Continental Wind Serbia (CWS) in consortium with other companies. The company CWS is planning to invest around 450 million euros in wind farms in Serbia with the capacity of 300MW and to build 57 windmills in the first phase, each of them with a production capacity of 2,5 megawatts.

Last year in September, in the municipality of Plandište, NIS (Petroleum Industry of Serbia) began the erection of the first wind farm in which 160 million euros will be invested. The implementation of this project will be carried out by the joint venture company „NIS Elektrowind“, in which NIS has a 50 percent stake, whereas the rest is owned by private investors. The implementation of this project will bring the country closer to the fulfilment of norms of European energy policy and enable it to increase the participation of „green“, ecologically clean energy in the national energy balance.

This year in March, activities related to the erection of a wind park began at Vrška Čuka near Zaječar. The Swiss Company „VP Energy Systems“ is investing 70 million euros in this project.
As we have learned, the implementation of all these projects depends most on the new Energy Law, as well as on the improvement of the Contract on purchase of electricity from renewable energy sources. This Contract should contribute to the security of investments so that investors and banks would decide to invest and thus the project would be implemented. The biggest shortcoming of Serbia, from the viewpoint of investors, is an unstable and unpredictable legislative framework which is affected by frequent changes in laws and their incomplete implementation. A stable legislative framework is necessary. The new law should complete the regulatory framework for the field of investing into renewable energy sources. In order to encourage investors to invest into new renewable energy sources, stimulations through the price of a kilowatt-hour of generated electricity are also necessary.

The Republic of Serbia, as a member of the energy community of South-East Europe, has undertaken to implement the directive promoting the generation of electricity from RES. The ultimate goal to be achieved is that the participation of RES should reach 20 % by the year 2020, and that wind energy should provide the generation of 10 percent of the country’s total energy needs within the next few years. In terms of energy, the greatest importance of wind power plants is that they generate even 70 percent of electricity during the winter months, when Serbia needs electricity most and when the import of electricity is the most expensive.

All the projects are still in early phases, these are only some of the first steps in the implementation of using wind energy for producing kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Erection of wind parks will strengthen Serbian energy sector to a large extent, it will contribute to the total energy security and significantly reduce the needs for electricity import. In political terms, this will bring Serbia closer to the European Union and contribute to the fulfilment of goals within the field of using renewable energy sources. There are realistic expectations that, as from the next year, wind will power the first windmills in our country. Serbia is a land with a significant potential within the field of wind energy. What is needed, when it comes to the energy sector, is to attract as many investors as possible. It is necessary to create such environment that will attract investors, аnd precisely the new Energy Law should provide clear rules and clear support for those investing in renewable sources.