The Reversible Hydropower Plant Bistrica is a project that can realistically be implemented in the next few years, but the same cannot be expected for the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Đerdap 3” as that investment is facing prolonged uncertainty.
Reversible Hydropower Plant Bistrica and RHE “Đerdap 3” were announced as upcoming projects by the Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia, Dubravka Đedović Handanović, emphasizing that this would ensure a stable power supply and promote the balancing of the power system.
These are projects that we need to plan well to complete by 2030 or shortly thereafter. Thanks to reversible hydropower plants, we will integrate more capacity from solar and wind into our power system.
We are rich in river potential, and the cheapest electricity production comes from hydropower plants. The Reversible Hydropower Plant “Bistrica” is crucial for balancing the national power system, enabling a five-day storage of electrical energy.
This means that we will be able to accumulate surplus energy and inject it into the system when needed. We are actively working on project preparation – stated Minister Đedović Handanović, adding that she expects the construction of the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Bistrica” to start next year.
She emphasized that Elektroprivreda Srbije (Electric Power Industry of Serbia) is building the first facility from renewable energy sources, a wind park in Kostolac, which will be connected to the grid at the beginning of next year.
Work has already begun on the foundations for the wind turbine towers, and I expect that most of the work will be completed during this year. At the beginning of 2025, we will have the first production capacities of EPS from renewable energy sources connected to the grid, which is crucial for the energy transition and a shift to cleaner energy sources – said Minister Đedović Handanović.
She reminded that five self-balancing solar power plants with a capacity of one gigawatt will be constructed.
As mentioned by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, we have initiated negotiations with “Hyundai Engineering” from South Korea for the construction of these facilities at five locations in the east and south of our country. These facilities will have battery storage to accumulate energy when there is not enough sunlight, from where we will release electrical energy into the grid without compromising the security of supply – emphasized Dubravka Đedović Handanović.
As she pointed out, important projects in the power sector will be completed already this year, such as Block B3 in the Thermal Power Plant “Kostolac” and the flue gas desulfurization plant in the Thermal Power Plant “Nikola Tesla A”.
In the coming months, we will connect Block B3 in the Thermal Power Plant “Kostolac” to the system, which will be the first production facility opened by Elektroprivreda Srbije in almost four decades, with a capacity of 350 megawatts. This new power plant will use state-of-the-art equipment to reduce harmful gas emissions, and the emission levels will comply with national and European regulations. Additionally, we are completing the construction of the flue gas desulfurization plant in TENT A, which we will soon put into trial operation. This facility is one of the most important environmental projects in our country, providing cleaner air for the residents of Obrenovac, Belgrade, and the surrounding areas, reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by about 10 times – stated Đedović Handanović.
The minister emphasized that the energy sector is a fundamental infrastructure.
“We cannot industrialize the economy or open new scientific centres without a sufficient supply of electricity and secure energy supply,” stated Dubravka Đedović Handanović.
On the other hand, experts in the field argue that, at least at this moment, it is not likely to simultaneously build reversible hydropower plants “Bistrica” and “Đerdap” for several reasons. Therefore, the focus should primarily be on the construction of the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Bistrica.” Some activities in this regard have already started, and its cost is lower than the investment required for “Đerdap 3.”
When it comes to “Đerdap 3,” it is essential to align plans for the construction of that hydropower plant with Romanian partners. Precise analyses related to the implementation of that project are still pending. Additionally, financing such a project needs to be considered. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Đerdap 3” can be built in the short term. This is something to contemplate in the next phase after more promising projects are implemented – says Željko Marković, an energy expert, for Danas.
According to him, prioritizing the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Bistrica” is a sound choice because significant preparatory work has been done, making it realistic for construction to begin next year.
What remains to be seen is how the construction of the Reversible Hydropower Plant “Bistrica” will be financed.
Namely, during a recent meeting with the Japanese Ambassador Akira Imamura, Minister Đedović Handanović, in addition to stating that the feasibility study for the construction of the “Bistrica” project has been completed and estimated the construction cost of the facility to be over a billion euros, mentioned that the Japanese are interested in financing this project.
Insiders claim that the construction will be partly supported by funds approved by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the remainder will be covered by a loan that the Government of Serbia will secure. After the completion of the project, the new hydropower plant will be handed over to EPS for management.