How are Balkan countries planning the end of the coal era

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At the second panel of this year’s Trebinje Energy Summit, the main message was that the power companies of the region agree on one thing – there is a great investment momentum in investing in renewable energy sources, but the Energy Community needs to understand the dynamics of the energy transition. The security of BiH, Serbia and Montenegro is largely based on energy obtained from coal, and therefore it must be carefully considered which will be the path to turn towards RES.

The host of the meeting, the first man of Elektroprivreda RS, Luka Petrovic, pointed out that the adoption of the Law on Electricity was of great importance to the Republika Srpska, which, as he said, is of a reform character. Petrovic stated that, “if we do not build new facilities on the basis of RES, and we introduce a fee for CO2, we will be in serious trouble.” Petrovic once again reiterated the importance of the reorganization of Elektroprivreda RS, which they realized very quickly and managed to separate the supply and distribution activities. The law on RES, which should be adopted in RS, will enable the encouragement of citizens to install solar panels on roofs, and thus a category of so-called “prosumer”. They would be disconnected from cheap electricity, but ERS would help them with an alternative power source.

The director of Elektroprivreda BiH, Adnan Andelija, proudly announced that Elektroprivreda had agreed with the Energy Community on the internal collection of the CO2 fee, which is the first time that a company in the region has introduced it.

Without waiting for state laws, or harmonization of entity laws, Elektroprivreda BIH has started restructuring, because they are predominantly, with 80% supplied with electricity from two TPPs, and 20% of production comes from hydro potential. The first wind farm built by EP BIH, WPP Podvelezje of 50 MW, was put into operation at the beginning of 2021. In the fall, they expect to announce a call for the construction of three solar power plants with a capacity of 120 MW. They will soon build a solar power plant near the 30 MW Podvelezje WPP. The development of these projects will take two to three years.

Andelija also stated that they continuously have an invitation to private owners of hydroelectric power plants to buy those facilities, and there are already about 15 offers. These offers are now being analyzed by EP BiH teams. When asked what is happening with the beginning of the construction of Block 7 of TPP Tuzla, Andelija emphasized that they are expecting more talks on that topic with the Energy Community.

The situation in Elektroprivreda HZ HB is a bit more relaxed, because they are not burdened with electricity from coal, and they say that they will not give up the motto “100% renewable”.

How do they plan to achieve that? They intend to build WPP Poklecani with a capacity of 132 MW and 150 MW in solar power plants.

Serbia has already made good progress in the energy transition, and five new laws passed this spring are an additional incentive to speed up the process. However, as Aleksandar Jakovljevic, director of the strategy department at Elektroprivreda Srbije, said, they need a clear path and understanding.

He says that in Serbia, 17,000 people work in mines and thermal power plants and another 45,000 in domestic companies with an income of more than 450m EUR, which are subcontractors of thermal power plants. According to him, Serbia is waiting for the results of the current analyzes, after which it will start taking on possible obligations.

Milutin Djukanovic, President of the Board of Directors of EP CG, described an interesting situation that happened to Montenegro in terms of environmentally supported production. Djukanovic believes that it is not bad to preserve coal as a source, with stronger construction of wind and solar capacities. Montenegro plans to build HPP Komarnica, SE Briska gora, WPP Gvozd and Brajići in the next four years, and a tender for SE Velje brdo is being prepared. The eighth 58 MW unit is also going to HPP Perucica.

Yesterday, also writing about the messages from the Trebinje Energy Summit, we stated that Northern Macedonia has bravely stepped into the energy transition, and that is a country that has 65% of electricity production from coal and 35% from RES.

They are aware that their coal is of lower quality than the one in Serbia or BiH, so they decided not to invest in coal mining anymore, because that investment in new deposits would cost ESM (State Producer of Electricity) more than 100m EUR, said Blagoj Gajdarziski, director of development and investment in that company.

– We have decided that there will be no investments in new mines, and we will minimally maintain the existing power plants. By 2024, we will close our largest thermal power plant, Oslomej, and put into operation a solar power plant on the former landfill. Its power will be 100 MW, directed in a public-private partnership.

When it comes to TPP Bitolj, the first unit will be reconstructed so that it can run on gas, and the other two units will be shut down by 2031. Macedonia will also build HPP Cebren, which would annually produce 1,200 GWh of electricity and with it, as well as gas a 250 MW power plant would balance production, along with solar power plant projects.

– We want to build 800 MW solar power plants in eight years. Half of that capacity will be realized through a public-private partnership, and half will be invested ESM – said Garbadzijski.

The SET 2021 Energy Summit, organized by Elektroprivreda RS and SET, was held on May 20 and 21, under the auspices of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, the RS Government and Koncar, with general sponsorship by Elnos Group and support from Infinity Group and Dwelt.



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