Serbia: Implications of decommissioning of old TPPs for national economy and power utility EPS

6. January 2016. / News Serbia Energy

NERP emission plan will project the operational life of Serbian coal fired power plants. Power utility EPS Elektroprivreda Srbija had to submit the obligatory plan of investments and decommissioning by end of 2015. The EPS NERP plan which will project the number of implications of Serbian energy sector, maintaining of all power plants in production portfolio or increase of electricity imports dependency.

Lobbies are creating the energy strategy claim from academic circles of energy sector. . The plan of renewable sources use has not been defined precisely, and coal stays the basic energy source in the next two decades.

Recent appeal from Union of the Thermal Power Plant Nikola Tesla, made to the prime minister Aleksandar Vučić to prevent the shutting down of the Thermal Power Plant Kolubara, which is supposedly planned in April 2017, apart from this very important social and energy issue, opens up the question whether Serbia has a clear strategy which energy source would replace coal.

While in Denmark the plan is to make renewable sources the energy sources of the future, and nuclear energy in Great Brittan, professional public claims that there is no clear strategy in Serbia what will replace coal when it is gone one day. The TENT Union claims that different import lobbies are trying to create Serbian energy policy by advocating in favor of shutting down the thermal power plants, which are according to them still of strategic importance for the state’s energy stability and security. Unionists sent a letter to Vučić where they are warning him that the decision to close down TPP Kolubara is wrong, because its result would be 2000 more hungry mouths. A petition was organized in Kolubara against the closing of the power plant.

-Instead of developing a strategic branch of economy which will be of national interest, while making Serbia stabile and independent in the energy sector, EPS is planning to shut down over 1000 MW thermal capacity in the next period while planning the construction of only 400 MW of new capacities, which will inevitably lead Serbia into complete energy dependence – states the letter written by unionists. They add that this includes shutting down TPP Kolubara with net capacity of 271 MW out of which only 32 MW is off the grid while all the other units are operational, with optimum power and they are reliable, safe and energy efficient in every way.

Electrical university professors say that they do not believe that the “youngest” unit 5 in TPP Kolubara is planned to be shut down but rather thinks that such fate is intended for units 1-4 which are old and inefficient.

The conditions for their revitalization or closing have been ripe a long time ago. They have simply been working too long and it is normal that in one moment they will shut down because they can be dangerous both to people and environment. But there are no reasons to shut down unit 5 which was built last.

Also experts say that Serbia has no clear long term strategy how to replace coal.

We have an Energy Development Strategy but it does not give any answers what to do after coal. It is certain that Serbian energy industry will rely on coal and thermal power plants, as the cheapest energy source in the next twenty years. The renewable sources will take its place but the important fact is that their production price is high and capacities are not big enough to replace the production from the thermal power plants. Speaking of hydro power plants we have used all large capacities and now there is room only for the construction of small and medium hydro power plants. So it makes itself clear that after using all of coal reserves, Serbia must gravitate towards nuclear energy in order to save its energy stability and security. That is the only sustainable and efficient solution.

Serbian Gas Association stresses that the authorities have no clear answer to the question what will happen when we have used all the coal reserves.

-What is certainly necessary to be done is to build gas power plants which could entirely replace thermal power plants running on coal while using a renewable source such as gas. Together with building new hydro power plants it could be a solution for Serbia and its main orientation in the energy strategy in the future comment from gas association. They add that in TPP Kolubara there are many units that are dated and therefore have to be shut down.

Some of them were built six decades ago and they are no longer capable of safe and uninterrupted operation. As for the “youngest” unit, it is still operational and I do not think anyone in EPS is planning to take it off the grid. There used to be a plan to build the thermal power plant Kolubara B which would compensate for closed capacities but this project has not been realized. Anyhow shutting down capacities makes sense only if we are talking about dated and surpassed units, such as the units in TPP Kolubara .

EPS: No decision to shut down thermal power plants

Decision to shut down thermal power plant units in EPS has not been made yet. The plan for harmonization with demands and regulations of EU on limiting the emission of certain pollutants by large thermal plants will be made in agreement with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Mining and Energy and EPS Unions. In accordance with improvement of environmental policy, EPS has already started with modernization projects in the thermal power plants, which encompass the installment of systems for the reduction of particles and sulfur and nitric oxides EPS recently commented, transmits Serbia-energy.eu

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