Serbia, Serbia will not give up coal-based electricity generation

, News Serbia Energy

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said during his address to coal miners that the country will not follow the posh trend of coal phase-out which is currently present in Europe and the region and that it will continue to rely on coal-based electricity generation in the future.

President Vucic said that Serbia will increase investments in the mining sector in order to ramp up coal production at open pit mines Kolubara and Drmno, as well as underground mine Resavica. He stressed that the miners will have secure jobs in the next 20 to 30 years, since coal production is important for Serbia’s energy security. Earlier this spring, there was a confrontation between the Ministry of Mining and Energy and state-owned power utility EPS regarding further use of coal for electricity generation, namely the feasibility of the construction of thermal power
plant Kolubara B.

Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic said that Serbia will achieve energy security and will have enough electricity because it has enough potential for increasing its electricity generation, but that it is important that the new capacities that are being built be sustainable and economically viable. She stressed that the main goal for Serbia is to have enough energy, for it to be produced in a sustainable and healthier way. The country will develop an action plan on the operation of its coal-fired thermal power plants by 2050, as other countries in Europe do, but it also
must start building new capacities that use other energy sources in order for electricity production to be economically sustainable.

She noted that desulfurization plants will be built at the existing power plants, but that when it comes to new power plants, care must be taken as to what the real price of that electricity would be. According to her, entire income recorded by TPP Kolubara B would go to paying for CO2 emission allowances. These allowances now amount to 51
euros/ton, at the beginning of the year they were 35 euros, and by the end of the year they are expected to be 130 euros. If today is known that Serbia will have to pay those taxes on energy produced by the new thermal power plants, then the big question is whether it should build them at all.

Acting Director of EPS Milorad Grcic said that said that he would always take the side of the miners, who organized protests against the Ministry’s decision not to proceed with the construction of TPP Kolubara B, opposing the electricity imports lobbies. He reminded the Ministry of Mining and Energy that in 2018 the Government of Serbia
formed a working group for the realization of the project for the construction of TPP Kolubara B and that based on that decision EPS started the realization of the project which, as he says, was in line with environmental protection standards, and considers that there is no reason for the project to be excluded from the investment plan.

Grcic also said that TPP Kolubara B is a replacement for coal-based capacities built in 1970s and later, which will soon have to be shut down, and from 2024 EPS would remain without the possibility of producing base electricity, due to the obligations towards the European Union. According to him, TPP Kolubara A and TPP Morava with a total capacity of 324 MW will be closed by 2024, desulphurization installations on all thermal units will reduce their capacity by 120 MW, and for the needs of heating pipeline from Obrenovac to New Belgrade, the capacity is reduced by additional 160 MW.