Key environmental protection projects in Serbia

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Since 2016, when, after a long standstill, “Elektroprivreda Srbije” restarted key projects, the largest investment cycle in modern Serbian energy has begun, which has been waiting for three decades. In addition to investing in the development of new capacities, an important part of the investment policy of EPS and the Republic of Serbia is the preservation of strategic production and distribution capacities, which means their modernization and harmonization with European Union standards.

Today, the thermal power plants of “Electro Power Industry of Serbia” are plants in which the largest environmental projects in Serbia are being realized, intended primarily for the improvement of air quality. EPS has already invested around 500 million euros in environmental protection projects and has taken the leading position in terms of investments in that area in Serbia. In all thermal power plants, the reconstruction of electrostatic precipitators has been completed, which has reduced emissions of powdery substances or PM particles by as much as 87 percent. This is clearly shown by the numbers, because in 2003, the emission of PM particles from thermal power plants amounted to 66,626 tons, while in 2019 it was 8,837 tons. Only in these projects to reduce the emission of powdery substances, 97 million euros have been invested. An example of the efficiency of new electrostatic precipitators is EPS’s largest electricity factory in Obrenovac, which consists of TENT A and TENT B, where after the reconstruction of electrostatic precipitators, the emission of PM particles is eight times lower than before.

In the next investment cycle, significant investments are planned in order to bring all EPS plants to the level of strict domestic and European environmental parameters. As the most technically complex and financially demanding projects, flue gas desulphurization systems stand out. EPS has successfully completed the construction of the first such plant in TPP “Kostolac B” and warranty measurements have shown that SO2 emissions are significantly below the current European standard of 200 milligrams per cubic meter. The fact that the introduction of the desulphurization system on the four blocks of TENT A includes the construction of as many as 42 facilities also speaks of how complex these projects are. The desulphurization projects at the locations of EPS’s thermal capacities that are being implemented or are planned, are also the largest individual environmental investments in Serbia. Only in the two current desulphurization projects in the thermal power plants in Obrenovac, which produce more than half of the Serbian electricity, around 400 million euros will be invested. Work on the system for the four strongest units in TENT A has progressed, while preparations for the implementation of the desulphurization project for both TENT B units are in the final phase. With the operation of these plants, the emission of sulfur oxides will be about nine times less, and the emission of powdery substances will be additionally reduced, in addition to the already installed electrostatic precipitators.

Projects are also planned for the two oldest units in TENT A, as well as TPP “Kostolac A” and the new unit “Kostolac B3”, the construction of which is in progress. As part of plans to improve air quality, EPS plans both primary and secondary measures to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in thermal power plants. Projects of desulphurization and other measures to reduce emissions into the air guarantee the durability and survival of thermal power plants and the entire energy system of Serbia, because they provide a modern way of operating thermal plants that produce about 70 percent of Serbian electricity. The economic aspect of such projects is also important for citizens and the economy, because their implementation ensures the future of EPS, and thus the security and stability of the energy system, which is significantly dependent on the use of coal as an energy source. One of the strategic directions that EPS is taking is the revitalization of hydroelectric power plants, which resulted in a significant increase in the power and working life of these plants. Every kilowatt hour obtained from water is very important, because “green energy” comes from renewable sources. With the works on “Đerdap 1”, HPP “Zvornik” and HPP “Bajina Bašta”, the hydro capacities of EPS have been increased by 140 megawatts.

And that is just the beginning because the revitalization of all 10 units in HPP “Djerdap 2” is being prepared, which will bring a new 50 megawatts of power for the production of electricity. For this project, but also for the revitalization of the units in “Vlasina HPPs”, RHE “Bajina Basta”, hydroelectric power plants “Potpeć” and “Bistrica”, tests of the condition of the equipment and preparation of investment-technical documentation are being done. The realization of the project for the construction of a wind farm in Kostolac was also initiated, by which EPS, the entire Serbian energy system and Serbia are taking sure steps towards fulfilling the obligations to increase the share of renewable energy sources in total consumption to 27 percent. The first wind farm that EPS will build is a significant investment with a total value of around 100 million euros. With a capacity of 66 megawatts in 20 wind turbines, this wind farm will provide enough energy to supply 30,000 households.