Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) is negotiating joint ventures for renewable power plants, and to provide balancing services for several wind farms and purchase energy from private companies. Apart from these activities, Serbia’s state-owned power utility intends to invest in the revitalization of hydropower plants and in the coal sector until 2025, and after that to build solar power plants.
Dragan Vlaisavljević, executive director for electricity trading at EPS, stated that the company’s focus with regard to renewable energy sources until 2025 would be on the refurbishment of hydropower plants. All preparations for such projects are completed and negotiations on financing are underway.
Another segment is new power plants: the construction of the 75 MW Kostolac wind farm is ongoing, while another project with an installed capacity of 300 MW will be implemented.
The first phase, 150 MW, should be completed in two or two and a half, and the second phase by 2026-27, Vlaisavljević said at the RES Serbia 2022 conference, organized by the RES Serbia association.
The construction of solar power plants will begin after 2025
EPS is also working on large solar power projects as it has a lot of land that can be repurposed but the plans will have to wait.
According to Vlaisavljević, EPS’s investment capacity has decreased, and in the coming years it will also have to invest in power plants to maintain the current level of production. That is why the utility would speed up investments in solar power plants only after 2025, he added.
Vlaisavljević revealed that EPS is negotiating with companies interested in establishing joint ventures for investments in new facilities and renewable energy.
EPS would purchase a portion of the energy and secure balancing, he added.
Wind farm investors want to sign balancing agreements with EPS
The third major activity is negotiating with large investors in wind farms for contracts for balancing on a commercial basis. The first project should be online as early as 2024, and EPS is also offering other companies to offtake their energy.
Vlaisavljević expressed the belief that deals would be agreed and referred to EPS’s positive experience from the cooperation with operators of four existing wind farms and providing balancing services to them under the government’s subsidy scheme. Some of the current projects have already secured financing, and the overall investment is estimated at several hundred million euros.
Pumped storage HPP Bistrica cannot be completed before 2030
The investors and their financiers prefer bilateral contracts for balancing as they have no faith in the future liquidity of Serbia’s intraday market, Vlaisavljević said.
When it comes to the planned pumped storage hydropower plant Bistrica, he pointed out the project is 40 years old and that it is currently under review.
The most critical part will be to secure financing. According to him, the step won’t be completed before 2024, and the construction could start in 2025.
The facility can hardly be completed before 2030, he said, adding that it would make the availability of balancing capacities at the end of the date a critical factor.