The Draft Environmental Action Plan of public power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) from 2016 to 2025 anticipates investments of EUR 864 million in reducing air, soil and water pollution, as well as in waste management, Aleksandar Jakovljević, head of strategy at EPS’ said during a presentation of the Draft Action Plan.
He recalled that in the past ten years EPS invested EUR 3 billion in the revitalization of production facilities, environmental protection, development of the distribution network and preparations for the construction of new power plants. As a result, installed capacity has been increased by 200 MW at thermal power plants (TPP) and, 140 MW at hydropower plants, while TPP’s’ production has been increased from 18 TWh to 25 TWh.
“In addition, we implemented a series of environmental protection projects, with investments reaching EUR 320 million in the period from 2002 to 2016, most of which went to thermal power plants, for the improvement of air quality and reduction of air pollutant emissions, which has led to a decrease in particulate matter’ emissions by six times, although overall electricity generation increased,” Jakovljević said at a conference organized by the Balkanmagazin internet portal.
Thermal power plants, according to Jakovljević, remain the cornerstone of Serbia’s electricity system with the growth of renewable energy production from 300 GWh to 2,500 GWh.
The total investment plan by 2025 is estimated at EUR 4.7 billion. In its development, as well as in the development of the Draft Action Plan, we took into consideration the obligations towards the Energy Community, and the European Union, which will be defined through negotiations on Chapter 27, but also the new directives that are being prepared. We have more than 50 environmental projects that we need to implement and in which we will invest EUR 864 million,” Jakovljević announced.
Around EUR 650 million will be invested in air protection (flue gas desulphurization, reduction of nitrogen oxides), EUR 53 million is allocated for land protection (regulation of ash dumps), EUR 43 million is set aside for water protection (wastewater treatment plants, surface, and groundwater monitoring), EUR 115 million for waste management and around EUR 500,000 to reorganize environmental protection system.
“These investments will reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by 90%, nitrogen oxides by 45% and particulate matter by 95% by 2025, compared to the period 2008-2012," Jakovljević said.
Additional investments of EUR 1.5 billion
According to the Jakovljević, it could be said that all of this is environmental protection in a narrow sense, while a wider interpretation also covers renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and an increase in overall efficiency.
“We will invest EUR 100 million in renewables, EUR 650 million in revitalization of hydropower plants, which can also be classified as renewable energy generation, EUR 650 to improve labor efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, and EUR 70 million for efficient coal utilization. With the aforementioned EUR 864 million, this is a total of EUR 2.3 billion for the environment or 50% of EPS’ overall investment plan,” he noted, inviting all interested parties to send their suggestions concerning the Draft Action Plan.
He pointed out that Serbian production of electricity if the country were an EU member state, would make up only 7% of the EU’s total production from lignite, and a mere 3% if other types of coal were taken into account.