EnergyWatchBalkans, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia: Thermal power plants, modernization or shutdown

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In the countries of the region, due to obsolescence and inability to meet EU standards, 13 thermal power plants should be rebuilt or shut down.

A recent survey by the Foundation “Network for change of Southeast Europe” showed that, due to obsolescence and inability to meet EU standards in the countries of the region, 13 thermal power plants (TPP) should be rebuilt or closed.

From Brussels announced that the countries of Southeast Europe should start intensive use of renewable energy sources in order to meet target of 80 percent reduction in harmful gases emissions by 2050th, transmits

This message from Brussels, according to the director of Thermal Power Plant Kakanj Hasan Causevic, should be taken seriously.

He believes that there is a real chance that some thermal power plants in the region be closed, because there is delay in renewing the drive of these plants, but also he believes that their closure could soon left region without enough power.

“The region currently has a lot of good energy independence, especially we in BiH. There is already a problem, because they would have to find a replacement of the production capacity”, said Causevic, adding that BiH Electric power Industry has already planned the construction of the replacement capacity.

EU standards

He said that in these plans work on the construction of Unit 7 in TPP Tuzla and Unit 8 in TPP Kakanj, which would contribute to increasing energy efficiency and reducing environmental pollution.

He is aware that, when it comes to thermal power plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, those in the current state cannot meet EU standards.

“We are signatories of the agreements. For example, BiH is obliged to reduce dust emissions (SOx and NOx) at a level below 20 milligrams by January 2018th, and TPP Kakanj is the only one in the region which managed to do it”, Causevic says.

Director of TPP Kakanj still concluded that BiH seriously was late in capacity restoring and adaptation to EU standards, and that there was a real danger of closing some thermal power plants.

Professor and Head of Mining Department at Faculty of Mining and Geology in Tuzla, Edin Delic does not believe that policies in the region will sacrifice energy to accelerate movement in European integration to some extent.

He believes that the energy sector is extremely important for the countries mentioned in this context.

“In addition to direct income, employment and direct development on the basis of these plants (thermal power plants), it should be borne in mind that the energy sector is a” base” for most other activities in the region”, Delic said.

However, he does not rule out the possible closure of thermal power plants in the region and stated that circumstances could lead to that.

“First of all are energy needs that determine the number of thermal power plants in a country. The common thing of countries where the power capacity are put in question is inadequate or non-existent strategic planning in the energy sector, and it is not possible to consistently interpret the needs of the energy capacity”.

Another reason, according to Delic, can be seen as a combination of technological obsolescence, environmental impact and energy efficiency.

“On the territory of the European Union the BAT principle (” best available technologies”) is in force under which in the specific case, the electricity must be produced in which are today the best available technology. All the facilities in these power plants are outdated and it is indicative that the renewal of existing and acquisition of new capacity mainly are carried out in China, which will lead to the satisfaction of the BAT principles for new installations. It will not be possible on the EU market to launch electricity that does not meet the environmental and energy efficiency standards, and assessments of market needs in the countries where are these power plants indicate a possible electricity excess that cannot be exported”.

According to him, thermal power plants in the region must start the substitution of its boilers and production lines.

“Restoring thermal power plants means the boilers installation and production lines reconstruction so in order to satisfy the BAT principle. In our case, this would mean that the facilities in these power plants would be completely unusable. Modern thermal energy facilities have a mandatory system for desulphurization, effective filter systems for solid particles, high energy efficiency of boilers, cogeneration plants and a number of other technological elements”.

Stumbling stone

Delic said it was important not to make again the mistake of purchasing facilities that were not the most modern today and that in a few years would become once again a stumbling stone in the work of these plants.

The survival and development of the energy sector in the region, concluded Delic, will be possible only if the responsible for the planning of the energy sector completely understand the “European road map’ of involvement in the European energy community.

“If we continue past practice I think it would be likely that we will soon have electric power plants that have no one to deliver the surplus energy”.

Croatian deputy of the party “Croatian Sustainable Development” (ORaH) in the European Parliament, Davor Skrlec, said that all countries in the region were members of the Energy Community, which according to the signed contract, had certain obligations.

“All countries in the region are members of the Energy Community, which according to the signed Agreement are obliged to implement the Third energy package, and the general energy-climate policy of EU”.

He considers that the closure of old coal thermal power plants in the region would contribute in the long run to the reduction of public health cost, which means a positive effect on the state budget, but also to creation of new jobs in renewable energy, energy efficiency and incentives for innovation and application of new technologies.

He believes that in thermal power plants that have been operating for decades, which most in the region are, the investment in the filters installation is not profitable and their closure and decommissioning must be planned.

“The alternative to building new ones is not justified because of the low calorific coal (lignite) value and the obligation to respect the reduction of CO2 emissions. The charcoal is better to leave under the ground for future generations while do not be developed technologies that will enable its use without harmful emissions into the environment. Existing technologies advertised as “clean coal technology” unfortunately are not such yet and just are a marketing trick of companies that want to sell their products to undeveloped countries”.

Clean energy

Asked whether it is realistic to expect t the thermal power plant to be close by the deadlines set by EU between 2020th and 2030th, Skrlec answered that it was enough for the energy sector transformation with the realization of all conditions of energy security.

“The set limits are defined such that they can be achieved. However it is necessary to remove certain prejudices and take advantage of the Energy Union as a mechanism for regional and macro-regional cooperation not only in operational terms but also in strategic plans, as a result of this cooperation will be the clean energy production, greater macroeconomic stability in the region and cheaper energy for citizens and industry”.

He concluded that there were alternatives to thermal power plants and that the natural gas was needed for safe and sustainable transient.

“That is why diversification of suppliers and supply routes for natural gas is one of the priorities of the European Energy Union, but we must not forget that in fact the role of natural gas and climate objectives can be achieved only with clean energy. We must not neglect energy efficiency because for every one percent of energy savings, EU reduces its dependence on energy imports by two percent. Indirect effect on new business opportunities and job creation is also great”, Skrlce concluded.


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