Renewables

Financing completed for EPS’s wind park Kostolac

Financing completed EPS wind park Kostolac

Photo: Đorđe Krstić / Ministry of Mining and Energy

Published

January 29, 2024

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Published:

January 29, 2024

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The European Union has provided a EUR 30 million grant for the Kostolac wind park project from its Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Dubravka Đedović Handanović said the new agreement completes the financing of the investment. It will be the first wind power plant of state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije, which still leans mostly on lignite.

Wind power plant Kostolac is one of six renewable energy infrastructure projects in the region benefitting from a combined EUR 120 million in grants through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). At the signing of a EUR 30 million grant agreement today, Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Dubravka Đedović Handanović said it completes the financing for the facility. It is set to consist of 20 turbines with 66 MW in total.

State-owned Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) obtained an EUR 80 million loan from Germany’s KfW Development Bank more than six years ago. The deal includes a EUR 1.8 million grant.

Minister Dubravka Đedović Handanović, KfW’s Carsten Sandhop and Acting Director of EPS Dušan Živković signed the grant agreement today

In the meantime, estimated costs jumped by almost 50% to EUR 144 million. EPS is now participating in its first wind park project with EUR 32.2 million in own funds. The WBIF grant was proposed in late 2022, when it was supposed to amount to EUR 31.2 million.

Acting Director of EPS Dušan Živković and Director of KfW’s office in Belgrade Carsten Sandhop signed the agreement today alongside Đedović Handanović. Wind park Kostolac is under construction.

The said six projects were awarded the funds under a EUR 500 million package from the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans. It consists of grants of an overall EUR 9 billion, aiming to mobilize over EUR 20 billion more in investments.

In the same round, EPS is getting EUR 16.1 million for the reconstruction of the Vlasina hydropower complex (Vlasinske hidroelektrane).

Wind park Kostolac to come online by mid-2025

The agreement signed today is an important step toward building EPS’s first wind power plant, Đedović Handanović said. It will be located at depleted open cast mines and dumping grounds for slag, ash and tailings from the Kostolac coal complex, she noted. The annual output will be equivalent to the electricity needs of 30,000 households, the minister explained.

Kostolac also hosts EPS’s first utility-scale solar power project Petka, coal plants Kostolac A and B and the new unit, Kostolac B3, which is under construction. Đedović Handanović said it would be completed within several months.

The wind power plant is expected to generate 187 GWh per year

Wind park Kostolac is expected to be connected to the grid in the first half of 2025, at the same time as the 9.75 MW Petka photovoltaic unit, she added.

Đedović Handanović recalled that Serbia selected the consortium of Hyundai Engineering and UGT Renewables as the strategic partner for solar power plants with a combined connection capacity of 1 GW and battery storage. The facilities will be handed over to EPS.

EU, Germany committed to Serbia’s energy transition

“This project is not only the proof of Serbia’s dedication to green energy but also the cornerstone of our European Green Deal and just transition, promoting economic development while protecting our planet and citizens. The Kostolac wind park represents our joint endeavor to transition away from coal,” said EU Ambassador to Serbia Emanuele Giaufret.

Germany’s Ambassador to Serbia Anke Konrad said her country is a reliable partner in the energy transition and that through the regional climate partnership it is consistently focused on green energy development in Serbia and energy connectivity in Europe. Additionally, she pointed out that wind park Kostolac would generate 187 GWh per year, for which 95,000 tons of coal would be needed.

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