Serbia’s power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has suspended the construction of its first solar power plant Petka, with a capacity of 9.95 megawatts (MW), citing lack of funds.
The tender for the construction of the Petka solar power plant at the external tailings dump of the Ćirikovac coal mine in the Kostolac basin was announced in January. One offer was received, assessed as acceptable, and the signing of a contract proposed. However, at the end of April, EPS decided to stop the deal.
EPS said its management informed the company’s public procurement commission that “there are no funds available for this purpose.”
All available funds are directed to the production of coal and electricity
Having in mind the current situation in the region, and within EPS, as well as the prices of oil, gasoline, coal and electricity, the company would use all available funds to maintain production of coal and electricity, the decision reads.
EPS declined to comment. Of note, at the end of April the company has decided to postpone the reconstruction of three units in coal power plants TENT A1 and TENT A2.
It is obvious that the collapse of coal and electricity production in EPS in December last year caused huge financial issues. It was officially announced that from December 12, when the collapse of coal power plants began, which was reflected in reduced production by up to 60 percent, until April 20, EPS had to import 2.23 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, worth EUR 530.7 million in total.
EPS imported electricity worth EUR 531 million last winter
If there was no collapse, EPS would not have spent such an amount. But it is not the last of its troubles, because the utility still imports electricity even though it regularly exported it in the current period in previous years.
On top of all that, it has to import four million tons of coal by the end of next year as production weakened, bringing another unplanned expense, estimated at several hundred million euros.
Importing electricity and coal would not be such a challenge if prices had not increased by several times due to the energy crisis.