The Energy Community Secretariat has initiated a dispute settlement procedure against Serbia for not closing the Morava coal-fired power plant. The facility is operated by state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS). Last year Morava’s 120 MW unit produced 560 GWh or 1.8% of EPS’s output.
Serbia is joining Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, as the Energy Community Secretariat has already launched similar dispute settlement procedures against them for violating the opt-out mechanism.
“The secretariat sent an opening letter to Serbia to address its breach of the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) in the case of the thermal power plant Morava, which continues to operate despite the expiry of its limited lifetime derogation period (also known as opt-out),” the statement reads.
The opt-out mechanism applies to ten units in BiH, Montenegro, and Serbia
Following written declarations that the plants wouldn’t be for more than 20,000 hours after January 1, 2018, the Energy Community Ministerial Council approved opt-outs for selected installations. The mechanism applies to ten units in total.
The secretariat recalled that the opt-out is an implementation alternative to compliance with the emission limits set by the LCPD. Following the expiry of the 20,000 hours, the units can only remain in operation if they meet the standards of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).
This is however not the case for TPP Morava, which reached the end of its limited lifetime derogation in the 2022 reporting year, the secretariat said.
The opt-out period for the Morava coal plant was expected to expire in September 2022
According to its Annual Implementation Report 2022, published in December, the opt-out period for the Morava unit was expected to have expired in September.
The secretariat has continuously flagged the approaching end of the opt-out period for all plants concerned in its annual implementation reports since the entry into force of the LCPD on January 1, 2018.
Of note, the secretariat launched a dispute settlement procedure against Montenegro in April 2021, and against BiH in October 2022. Montenegrin power utility Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) failed to shut down the Pljevlja power plant, while BiH’s Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH) continued to operate two units in coal-fired power plants Tuzla and Kakanj after expiry.