State power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) plans to invest EUR 4.8 billion in new renewable energy power plants over the next 15 years, said Miroslav Tomašević, acting director of EPS.
New green energy production is the strategic commitment of EPS, which is confirmed by the Go Green Road plan, a document that unites the company’s most important investments in renewables. The production of base load from coal is currently the reality of EPS’ power generation, but on the path of decarbonization and energy transition, renewables are the only way for energy to retain its crucial role in Serbia’s economic development in the coming decades.
Investments in renewables are necessary for EPS to remain a major energy player in the Western Balkans
“Investing in renewables and strengthening the green portfolio are a certain path for EPS to remain one of the major energy players in the Western Balkans,” Tomašević said.
According to latest estimates, over the next 15 years, the share of renewable sources in EPS’ production portfolio could increase from the current 3,000 MW to more than 7,000 MW by 2038. This requires an estimated EUR 4.8 billion in investment, Tomašević said.
The renewable energy share in total production should reach 50%
The share of renewable power plants in the total installed capacity of EPS would increase from 36.9% to 63%. The production of renewable energy is expected to increase from 10,000 GWh to 16,500 GWh, and the share of green energy in the total output would increase from 30 to 50%.
Tomašević said that the biggest jump in the share of renewable energy is planned over the next seven to eight years. He recalled that some of the projects planned in the EPS Go Green Road plan have already received support of the European Union.
EUR 49 million has been granted to EPS under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). The funds would be used for an upgrade of the Vlasina hydropower cascade, the Kostolac wind farm project, and the preparation of investments in the Morava and Kolubara A solar power plants.
Kostolac wind park will be online next year
According to Tomašević, the most important projects include the construction of hydropower plants, wind farms, and solar power plants.
The company expects to finish three projects next year: the Kostolac wind farm with a capacity of 66 MW, the Petka solar power plant, with a capacity of almost 10 MW, and the installation of solar panels on the roofs of the Nikola Tesla A thermal power plant (TENT).
Two 500 MW wind farms near Kostolac are also planned
Tomašević said that a year later, it is planned to put online a solar power plant at another large thermal power plant, TENT B, and two photovoltaic plants on the ash pits of coal power plants Kolubara A and Morava, projects financed with loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and KfW.
In the area of the Kostolac mining basin, EPS plans another two PV facilities – Srednje Kostolačko Ostrvo, with a capacity of 97 MW, and the Klenovnik solar power plant, with a capacity of about 250 MW.
The possibility to further utilize wind potential is also being planned, as two wind parks of 500 MW each are in the pipeline at the Stiško Polje location near Kostolac, in an investment estimated at EUR 1.5 billion, Tomašević announced.
RHE Bistrica will be online by 2031
The necessary energy reserve for balancing variable renewable sources would be secured by the company’s key project in the implementation of the green agenda – the pumped storage hydropower plant RHE Bistrica, with a capacity of 628 MW.
The project would enable the integration of new solar and wind facilities, with the expected start of operation in 2031, Tomašević said.
RHE Đerdap 3 could be completed by 2037
Further progress on the green scenario will require additional support in terms of energy accumulation and the development and implementation of another pumped storage project – RHE Đerdap 3 – in two phases. It could be finished by 2037, and the investment includes a total capacity of 1,200 MW.
Tomašević also said that EPS plans to continue the reconstruction of its existing hydropower plants. This will increase their reliability, extend their operating life, and increase their capacity.
Numerous upgrades of hydropower plants are also planned
EPS plans to overhaul HPP Bistrica, HPP Đerdap 2, the Vlasina hydropower cascade, and HPP Potpeć.
“Such a scenario of strategic development of EPS, based on the use of renewables, would enable a gradual phaseout of the now dominant energy source – lignite. Until it is completely replaced by another basic energy source, new, green energy would increasingly contribute to the energy security and independence of Serbia and EPS. This is very significant at the time of the energy crisis, when energy is a key factor in the survival and development of national economies,” Tomašević said.