Reversible hydropower plants are at the very top of the priorities when it comes to renewable energy sources, both for production and storage of electricity.
That is why reversible hydroelectric power plants have been repeatedly called the jewel of Serbian energy at the International Expert Conference The Significance of the Construction of RHPP Bistrica and RHPP Đerdap 3, which was organized by Energija Balkana under the institutional auspices of the Ministry of Mining and Energy and in cooperation with Elektroprivreda Srbije AD.
“The construction of RHPP Bistrica is one of the strategic projects of the State of Serbia and EPS, and it is particularly important because it is expected to further increase the participation of variable renewable energy sources, perhaps the most important resource that the planet has, the sun. It is certain that new capacities will be needed to balance and stabilise the system, not only in Serbia but also in the region.
And that is the essential need made possible by reversible hydropower plants”, said Acting Director. general director of EPS AD Dušan Živković of energy at the international expert conference The significance of the construction of RHPP Bistrica and RHPP Đerdap 3, which was organized by the site Energija Balkana under the institutional auspices of the Ministry of Mining and Energy and in cooperation with Elektroprivreda Srbije AD.
Emphasizing the actuality of the construction of reversible hydropower plants, not only for our region but also at the global level, Živković spoke about their importance for ensuring storage, balancing and energy security in the period ahead.
RHE Bajina Bašta – EPS gold reserve
“Energy opportunities in Europe and the world, the energy transition we are already experiencing, and the imminent decarbonization are additional support for the development of reversible hydropower plants. At the celebration of 130 years of EPS, I mentioned the pride of Serbian energy – TENT B and Đerdap 1, but also the jewel of Serbian energy RHPP Bajina Bašta.
I believe that we all know how important RHE Bajina Bašta is for our power system, our golden reserve for all those moments when there is a lack of energy, which has happened in Serbian energy history”, reminded the first person of EPS.
Speaking about the 40 years of operation of RHPP Bajina bašta, Živković pointed out that this power plant is “in many ways unique in the world”.
“Its construction was a great construction feat. By excavating the Tara mountain with another underground tunnel through which the pipeline passes, two reservoirs are connected, which are separated by a height difference of about 600 meters, and this is one of the largest net drops of water in the world”.
“This is exactly what awaits us with the construction of RHPP Bistrica. A new reservoir, new tunnels, but also four new aggregates of 164 MW, with variable rotation speed. All these are the reasons for the extremely high interest in building this RHPP”, stressed Živković.
RHPP Bistrica will give EPS a new, commercial note
In addition to balancing and storage capacity, RHPP Bistrica will, as he said, have an impact on the financial aspect of the EPS portfolio through increased flexibility and through new services that will inevitably appear on the market, which will give EPS a new commercial note in business.
“All this is of key interest to the Serbian electricity industry. According to previous analyses, with the construction of RHPP Bistrica, we would get a flexible power generation capacity in the heart of the power system in Serbia and the entire region.
This is a key interest for the Serbian electricity industry. It is also interesting that RHE Bistrica, in addition to its reservoir, can use additional water potential from the Uvački, Zlatarski and Radoinjski lake reservoirs. In this way, we will improve the use of the cascade of Drina-Lim power plants”, said Živković.
Reversible power plants are essential for the energy transition
Radoš Popadić, advisor to the Ministry of Mining and Energy for the power sector, said that the priorities of the Serbian power sector are ensuring the security and independence of the energy sector while improving the environment. He also emphasized the importance of energy is favourable for both the economy and citizens.
“This topic is directly related to the energy transition, renewable energy sources, the introduction of new technologies in the energy sector, as well as the stable functioning of the system in light of the disturbances in which the whole world has been, unfortunately, in recent years.
From the point of view of our State, it is necessary, on the one hand, to ensure energy security and energy independence, and on the other hand, to preserve and improve the environment, all at the lowest possible costs, in a socially just process.
These issues are crucial for the future of both Europe and our country, and part of the solution for Serbia is certainly investments in this area, which, due to their importance, are at the very top of the reversible hydroelectric power plant, at this moment above all Bistrica”, Popadić said, emphasizing that “the goal is to reach 45 percent of energy from renewable sources and make them equal to coal”.
Among the key goals, Popadić mentioned a significant increase in energy efficiency and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 40.4 percent by 2030 compared to 1990.
“RHPP Bistrica is one of the most important investments in the list of priority projects, which is important for the improved energy stability of Serbia, the balancing of energy produced from renewable sources and the development of the electricity market.
It is a very attractive project in terms of many parameters, this project is a new gem of our energy industry. By building the RHPP Bistrica, Serbia would increase its capacity to store energy from water potential.
It is particularly useful for balancing supply and demand in power systems, enabling the supply of electricity when needed – especially when renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy, are not available”, said the MRE adviser.
Popadić stated that the planned power of 656 MW RHPP Bistrica would bring additional stability and reliability to the power system, designed to quickly switch from storage mode to energy production mode and vice versa, to compensate for fluctuations in demand or sudden interruptions in energy supply.
According to him, RHPP Đerdap 3 would further speed up and ensure the integration of renewable energy sources into our power system.
RHE Đerdap 3 – a possible important project for the region and Europe
Speaking about RHE Đerdap 3, Popadić said that this project is now being considered with a potential power of about 1,800 MW, which will be built in three phases.
“The reversible HPP Đerdap 3 could satisfy part of the needs of the region and Europe – for balancing variable production from wind and solar power plants.” Due to all the specifics, the analyzes related to this project are still ongoing, primarily due to the time horizon of the need for such a project. In essence, the importance of RHE Bistrica also applies to Đerdap, only on a wider regional and European level,” said Popadić.
Obstacles to the realization of this project concern the fact that Đerdap is a national park and that the RHPP could have a negative impact on the environment, as well as the fact that it is an interstate project.