Electricity

Montenegro’s EPCG gets approval for hydropower system at Otilovići dam

EPCG granted approval to start construction of Otilovići HPP near Pljevlja

Photo: Alex Alishevskikh on flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

Published

July 31, 2023

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Published:

July 31, 2023

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Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) has obtained urban planning and technical requirements for the project of a small hydroelectric power plant at the Otilovići reservoir. The company announced that it would soon be launching a tender. The facility will be constructed next to the dam in the vicinity of Pljevlja, in the northern part of Montenegro.

The Government of Montenegro has adopted urban planning and technical requirements for the construction of small hydropower plant Otilovići, with a capacity of 2.96 MW. The move enabled state-owned coal and electricity producer EPCG to proceed with the project in the eponymous village near Pljevlja.

The location is in the immediate vicinity of the Otilovići concrete arch dam on the Ćehotina river, which was built to supply water to the country’s only coal-fired thermal power plant.

Small hydroelectric plant Otilovići is expected to produce 11 GWh of electricity annually, which is enough to power over 1,200 households.

The plant would consist of two units. One will operate at environmentally acceptable flow rates, and the other would be activated during periods of medium and high water flows, the company said.

The investment is valued at EUR 4.5 million. EPCG told Podgorica-based Vijesti it would assess the conditions for financing the project for a few more months, but that it would most likely use own funds. The company pointed out that interest rates are currently unfavorable.

According to EPCG’s Chief Executive Officer Nikola Rovčanin, the documentation has finally been completed after two years. The next step is to launch a tender, which could be expected in the next month or two, in his words.

HPP will utilize the surplus water from the existing reservoir

The existing dam in Otilovići was constructed in 1982 on the Ćehotina river. The water is used for the needs of the Pljevlja thermal power plant and to supply drinking water to the town of Pljevlja in northern Montenegro. The dam is 59 meters high, and the reservoir’s capacity is approximately 18 million cubic meters.

Last year Montenegro granted a 30-year concession to EPCG for using the water from the reservoir for the small hydropower project. The concession fee will be 6.5% of the achieved annual production but no less than 5% of planned production.

Construction is estimated to take around 18 months, and EPCG expressed hope that the works would begin by the end of the year.

The Otilovići plant will not disrupt the water regime downstream of the dam

According to Rovčanin, the technical solution for the HPP Otilovići ensures that it will not disrupt the water regime downstream from the dam or negatively impact existing water users. He also claimed that the project would have negligible effects on the environment and primarily during the construction phase.

The average flow rate through the dam is 4.68 cubic meters per second, which provides the opportunity to build the small hydropower plant next to the structure, Rovčanin explained.

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