Serbia: Terminating TPP Kolubara B project can’t be affordable

, News Serbia Energy

Regarding the previous statement of the Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic, the President of the Supervisory Board of state-owned power utility EPS Jovan Despotovic says that the Ministry bypassed the Supervisory Board of EPS when making a strategic decision to stop the Kolubara B project.

Strategic decisions in the electricity sector are not made overnight, and that is why it is necessary to solve the current issue of the construction of coal-fired thermal power plant Kolubara B as soon as possible, said the management of EPS.

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, 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.

Also, in February 2020, the Ministry of Mining and Energy adopted a decision on the formation of a project group to negotiate a contract for the construction of TPP Kolubara B and obtained consent to enter into negotiations with a potential Chinese bidder, said Grcic claiming that Minister Mihajlovic decided to change all decisions of both the Government and the Ministry in one day without prior analysis and consultations. Grcic also states 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.

At the same time, President of the Miners’ Union of Kolubara mining basin Miodrag Rankovic said that the miners will enter general strike unless the Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic is removed from her position, adding that she represents the interests of the lobby of electricity importers.