Serbia will spend EUR 1 billion on electricity and coal imports by the end of the year, and imports will continue until 2024, said Zorana Mihajlović, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy.
Zorana Mihajlović explained that it is an estimated amount for the purchase of electricity and coal by the end of the year, including about EUR 530 million for imports since December 12, when Serbia’s biggest thermal power plants broke down, until the end of April.
The costs of electricity imports are much higher due to the energy crisis. In previous years electricity was imported at EUR 30 to 50 per megawatt-hour (MWh), and now prices are three to four times higher.
Of note, on December 12, due to poor coal quality and insufficient quantities, production was sharply reduced in the two largest coal power plants operated by Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) – TENT A and TENT B, prompting the need for emergency imports to cover the shortfall for domestic consumption. At one point it reached 45%.
EPS is still importing electricity, which has not happened for years
Imports have not stopped since then. EPS is buying electricity abroad in the period of the year when usually doesn’t. Zorana Mihajlović said Serbia imports electricity every day in order to satisfy 10 to 17 percent of its consumption. It is a consequence of overhauls in EPS, but much more of the events in December, local media reported.
Serbia will probably have to spend EUR 1 billion by the end of the year on the import of electricity and coal just because someone in EPS did not do their job, Mihajlović said. She added the company would be able to provide enough electricity for domestic needs by the beginning of 2024 and return to the state from before December 12 of last year.
EUR 150 million must be invested in mines
She explained that EPS must invest at least EUR 150 million to make the Kolubara mining basin produce sufficient quantities of coal.
Due to bad planning at EPS there are no preconditions to produce enough coal, and it cannot be done soon, Mihajlović stressed.
Of note, the Government of Serbia has allowed EPS to import four million tons of coal by the end of 2023, and the first contracts were signed with the Montenegrin Pljevlja mine and Banovići mine from BiH.