Serbia: Power utility EPS needs to decide by end of 2015 on opt-out regime for its power plants

25. September 2015. / News Serbia Energy

Power utility EPS Elektroprivreda Srbije which operates with nine thermal power plants needs to decide on the opt-out regime for its power plants until end of 2015 which is the deadline for application to Energy Community.

Serbia should ensure that the provisions of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive are applied in practice, with particular regard to the provisions on public participation and access to justice, states the latest 2015 Energy Community Implementation report for Serbia.

Serbian power utility EPS has nine thermal power plants falling under the scope of the Large Combustion Plants Directive with a total of 21 units and a total rated thermal input of 13,943 MW. 18 units are fired by lignite while three are running on natural gas.

Currently, emissions of large combustion plants are regulated by the Regulation on the Emission Limit Values of Polluting Substances to Air adopted in 2010 and amended in 2011. This Regulation partially transposes the Large Combustion Plants Directive and contains detailed technical requirements for large combustion plants, including emission limit values and monitoring standards. In September 2014, a legal gap analysis of existing Serbian legislation in comparison to Chapter III of the Industrial Emission Directive was carried out with EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) and a transposition plan was developed as follow-up. The plan provides for a two-step transposition of Chapter III of the Industrial Emission Directive into national legislation, firstly by transposing the provisions of the Large Combustion Plants Directive via a new Regulation (to be adopted in the course of 2015) and then Chapter III of the Industrial Emissions Directive by mid-2017 via amendments to the new Regulation.

The implications of implementing the Large Combustion Plants and Industrial Emissions Directives were reflected in the scenarios of the draft Energy Development Strategy of Serbia by 2025 with projections until 2030.

Serbia is preparing and planning to adopt a National Emission Reduction Plan under Article 4(6) of the Large Combustion Plants Directive, as adapted by the Decision 2013/05/MC-EnC of the Ministerial Council. According to the confirmation NGO ESIASEE received from the spokesperson of the Energy Community, certain large combustion plants in Serbia may make use of the opt-out provision provided by the Decision of the Ministerial Council. In practice, this means that thermal power plants subject to the opt-out regime can remain operational for a maximum of 20,000 operational hours between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2023 without meeting the emission limit values of the Directive.

As local Serbian media reported earlier TENT A 1 and A2, Kolubara and Morava power plants may be the first in row to decrease its operational capacity but also first planed units for decommissioning before 2020/2024.

The emission limit values of the Decree on the Emission Limit Values of Air Pollutants are aligned with those of the Large Combustion Plants Directive. During the last reporting period, Serbia continued with important steps in order to prepare for the implementation of the relevant provisions of the Large Combustion Plants and Industrial Emissions Directives which  is crucial to the implementation of these pieces of the environmental acquis. These efforts form a reasonable basis to ensure that the provisions of both Directives (as adapted by the Decision of the Ministerial Council) are implemented by the deadline set by the Treaty, i.e. 31 December 2017.

Serbia must continue its efforts for the preparation of implementing the Large Combustion Plants and Industrial Emissions Directives. In this regard, the adoption of the amendments to the Decree on the Emission Limit Values of Polluting Substances to Air and the National Emission Reduction Plan are of primary importance. Furthermore, operators of combustion plants need to bear in mind the deadline of end-2015 should they want to subject their plants to the opt-out rules, transmits Serbia-energy.eu

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