Serbia, The construction of a heat pipeline from Obrenovac to New Belgrade has been talked about for decades

, SEE Energy News

The construction of a heat pipeline from Obrenovac to New Belgrade has been talked about for decades, especially now, in the period of the energy crisis. It was announced as the biggest energy project in the country, many previous governments tried to build it, and the final construction should start as soon as all building permits are obtained.

In addition to generating electricity, thermal power plants also produce a large amount of heat. The idea to put that heat in pipes and transfer it from Obrenovac to New Belgrade is more than half a century old, and the contract for the construction of the heat pipe was concluded on January 9, 2020 between Belgrade Electric Power Station, the City of Belgrade and the contractor, the Chinese company Power Construction Corporation. However, almost two years later, the works have not yet started.

“The first point is the reconstruction of the turbines on blocks A3, A4, A5 and A6, since they were built at one time in the 70s to generate electricity. They were not built to have that branch for steam, that is, for heating. Currently, EPS is doing its job and it will be completed in three years”, city manager Miroslav Čučković, who is also the former president of the municipality of Obrenovac, told Euronews Serbia.

At the same time, says the city manager, we need to find a way to get the pipes out of the yard of the “Nikola Tesla” thermal power plant, and we also need to build a 28-kilometer pipeline network that will bring thermal energy from gate to gate.

Banjac: It is not worth interrupting the operation of blocks

Professor of thermodynamics at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Miloš Banjac, however, believes that it is too expensive and not worth it.

“You have to literally drill the turbine, to take over that steam. The EPS, that is, the blocks stop working at that moment. One month of non-operation of the block is about 10 million euros, two blocks are involved and that is 20 million euros per month”, Banjac points out.

Hot steam is already taken from blocks 1 and 2, and in this way Obrenovac has been heated for 40 years. Thanks to the “Nikola Tesla A” thermal power plant, 20,000 households have warm radiators, which means that about a million square meters are heated this way. Locals say that this is perhaps the only compensation for having one of the biggest polluters in their immediate vicinity.

The hot water network is expanding year by year. The connection to district heating is very favorable for the residents of Obrenovac, according to Toplovod, as is the price of heating.

“Heating for citizens is less than 60 dinars, or 59.20 with VAT. If the average apartment is 60 square meters, the bills range from 3,200 to 4,000 dinars for an apartment of average square footage in Obrenovac. We think that is the best price in Serbia.” says Boris Ivković, director of JKP “Toplovod” Obrenovac.

Professor Banjac says that this kind of heating system in Obrenovac is completely justified, but notes that the transfer of thermal energy 28 kilometers away is not.

“You will supply New Belgrade with that heat, but it is too much heat for New Belgrade. You would have to transfer it over the Sava. The Gazelle is already used, the bridge on the Ada could be there, but you will supply Banovo brdo with it. The question is what you will work with other parts of the city and now there is an estimate that another 100 million euros need to be invested in the infrastructure to be able to transfer it”, explains Professor Banjac.

On the other hand, the city authorities say that it is not worse to have an alternative to heating plants that run on gas, especially in the period of the energy crisis.

“The greatest importance would be for the city’s budget. The savings would be such that it would be far cheaper than gas today, and if gas were cheaper in the future compared to fuel oil or steam, then we would use it”, claims Čučković.

The Government of Serbia and the city of Belgrade raised a loan of 200 million euros for the implementation of the heating pipeline from Obrenovac to Belgrade. According to the city manager, due to the delay in starting the works, they will have to pay penalties of around 770,000 euros, Euronews writes.