The Banjaluka city government initiated the process of construction of a biomass-powered central heating plant and upgrades to the existing heating pipelines. The contract to set up the Eko Toplane Banjaluka joint-venture company was signed with the IEE Group company as investor.
The contract signed by the Banjaluka city government and the IEE company is for a strategic partnership and it precisely defines the investments and shares in the EKO company. Under the terms of the contract, the city will invest a total of KM 15,675,164 (about EUR 7.5 million) for a 49% share in the company while IEE will invest KM 16,335,670 (about EUR 8 million) for a 51% share in the company.
The start of construction is planned for June 1 on a plot of land right next to the existing heating plant. Mayor Igor Radojičić said at the signing ceremony that the city will now get 24-hour heating with huge savings.
The city’s existing heating plant will be restructured and part of its employees will get jobs with the Eko Toplane company. The Banjaluka city authorities and the Republika Srpska government assessed that the construction of biomass powered heating plan will mean savings of millions of Euro in heating oil costs for the old plant.
The technology for the new plant is the product of local experts and that will get the machine and construction industries moving in Republika Srpska, said Institute for Energy and Ecology Executive Director Dragiša Zečević.
Šuma Srpske state-owned forestry company CEO Risto Marić said that sufficient amounts of biomass and wood chip will be secured for the needs of the new plant.
IEE company spokespeople said the new biomass powered plant will have 49 MW of power, adding that the company will manage the plant and the procurement and preparation of wood chip and biomass. The IEE company built a biomass powered heating plant in the town of Gradiška winning an award from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2015 and an award for the most successful project in at a 2016 international forum on clean energy technology.
The new heating plant in Banjaluka will be a long-term sustainable and stable system, IEE spokespeople said.
Initial assessments are that the construction of the new biomass plant and upgrades to the existing central heating system in Banjaluka will mean a reduction of around 80,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.