Public power utility Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) and its subsidiary Hidroelektrane na Drini have established a Foča-based joint venture, Hidroelektrana Buk Bijela, for the production and sale of electricity, news agency Srna reported.
The agreement on the establishment of the joint venture was signed by ERS acting director Radmila Čičković and Nedeljko Perišić, director of Hidroelektrane na Drini. Branislava Milekić will serve as acting director of the new company.
Hidroelektrane na Drini has a majority stake of 80% in the joint venture, with ERS directly holding 20%.
The Buk Bijela hydropower plant (HPP) should be built on the upper course of the Drina River, about 11.6 kilometers upstream from Foča. It is planned to be equipped with three hydro generators with a total capacity of 93 MW, with the expected average annual electricity generation at around 330 GWh. The project would require an investment of BAM 382.4 million (EUR 193 million).
The preparation of tendering documents for designing, constructing, and securing financial resources through a loan is under way. The process is handled by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining.
Perišić, the director of Hidroelektrane na Drini, expressed satisfaction that Hidroelektrana Buk Bijela has finally been established.
As the majority owner, Hidroelektrane na Drini will do its best to make the project going according to the planned schedule, he said. Perišćić hopes that after all procedures are implemented, the necessary activities for the construction will start.
The Republika Srpska government has awarded a concession for the construction of HPP Buk Bijela for a period of 50 years to Elektroprivreda Republika Srpske (ERS).
Chinese company interested in construction, lawsuits filed over environmental permit
In July last year, the Government of Republika Srpska and China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (AVIC-ENG) signed a memorandum of cooperation on the construction of HPP Buk Bijela.
At the beginning of this year, Republika Srpska’s energy minister Petar Đokic announced that construction of the HPP will begin this year, while he recently said that a public invitation for a turnkey project to build the HPP will be launched soon.
However, not all stakeholders are happy about this investment. At the end of July, the Aarhus Resource Centre Sarajevo submitted two complaints to the District Court in Banja Luka against the environmental permits for HPPs Buk Bijela and Foča.