December 14, 2023
Two wind farm projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a solar power plant in Albania are getting EUR 75.4 million in grants, for investments of a combined EUR 333 million, from the European Union. They were approved as part of the sixth package within the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.
The European Commission approved a EUR 680 million investment package to support five flagship investments in rail transport and renewable energy. It is the sixth financial package under the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.
The round includes EUR 253.2 million in EU grants from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 3). The remaining part are favorable loans from international financing institutions, and contributions from the Western Balkans. The sixth package consists of two rail projects in Albania and Montenegro, two wind farm investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a solar power plant in Albania.
The European Commission said the developers of the three renewable electricity generation facilities, worth EUR 333 million in total, will get a combined EUR 75.4 million in grants through the EU’s Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). The beneficiaries, state-owned electricity producers, are investing EUR 25.1 million overall from own funds.
The cheap loans are from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Germany’s KfW Development Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Poklečani wind farm project is worth EUR 200.3 million
The biggest investment, the Poklečani wind power plant in the western part of Herzegovina, is valued at EUR 200.3 million. Power utility Elektroprivreda HZHB or EPHZHB got the government’s loan guarantee for EUR 150 million more than a year ago.
The facility of 132 MW in Posušje is scheduled to be completed in 2027. The company is investing EUR 6.2 million and the grants are worth EUR 44.1 million. Annual output is expected at 436 GWh.
Vlašić wind park seen for completion in 2028
Elektroprivreda Bosne i Hercegovine (EPBiH), the second of the three state-controlled electricity producers, will receive EUR 21.7 million in grants. The Vlašić wind park project won approval from the Council of Ministers of BiH in March after several years of preparations.
The investment is worth an overall EUR 90.9 million, of which EPBiH is providing EUR 16.7 million on its own. The loan segment consists of EUR 36 million from EIB and EUR 16.5 million from KfW.
The 50 MW project on the eponymous mountain northwest of the town of Travnik is expected to be commissioned in 2028, the documentation shows. It is seen generating 112 GWh per year. Interestingly, two other wind projects with locations in Vlašić resurfaced just last month.
Belshi solar power plant gets EUR 9.6 million grant
The third renewable energy investment in the package is the 50 MW Belshi solar park, set for completion in 2026.
It is located near Belsh in central Albania, in the Elbasan county. The project is estimated at EUR 41.8 million, of which EUR 9.6 million is a grant from WBIF. The EBRD has approved a EUR 30 million loan.
Integrating Western Balkans into EU’s transport, energy networks
“With these five investment projects, we are closer to fully connecting and integrating the Western Balkans into our transport and energy networks,” said European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi.
As part of the EU’s Global Gateway initiative, the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans aims to spur long-term recovery, accelerate a green and digital transition and foster regional cooperation and convergence with the EU. Adopted by the European Commission in October 2020, it is envisaged to mobilize up to EUR 30 billion in investments including EUR 9 billion in EU grants. The administration in Brussels expects the packages approved so far to mobilize EUR 16.6 billion in investments including EUR 4.5 billion in grants within 59 projects.
WBIF is a joint financial platform of the European Commission, member states, financial organizations and Norway, aimed at enhancing cooperation in public and private sector investments for the region’s socio-economic development and contributing to the European integration of the Western Balkans.
Separately, the European Commission adopted the EUR 6 billion Growth Plan for the Western Balkans last month. A year ago it prepared EUR 500 million in energy crisis aid on top of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.