Serbia’s coal plant Kostolac B3 to come online in September 2023

Serbia coal plant Kostolac B3 online September 2023

Photo: Coal power plant Kostolac B (EPS)


October 7, 2022






October 7, 2022





Head of the Kostolac B3 project Željko Lazović said the coal power unit would be put into operation next September. It is the only such facility in construction in the Western Balkans.

The Kostolac B3 project entered the final phase, according to Željko Lazović, who manages key investment projects in Serbia’s state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije – EPS. He told Tanjug agency that within a month and a half more than 98% of equipment will have been delivered and that “the unit’s stable operation on the grid” is expected in September 2023.

The installation of the turbine has begun and the generator will soon follow, the head of the Kostolac B3 project said. “The unit has 350 MW in capacity, with a net efficiency level of 37.3%. The unit complies with all legal standards for environmental protection,” he stated.

Kostolac B3 will have a share of up to 7% in output in EPS

The project for the coal-fired thermal power plant envisages cutting sulfur dioxide emissions to 150 milligrams per cubic meter, nitrogen oxides will be lowered to 200 milligrams while it will release dust or fly ash in the amount of 10 milligrams per cubic meter, Lazović noted.

The company’s representative said Kostolac B3 would have an annual output of 2.2 TWh to 2.5 TWh per year, making up between 5% and 7% of the EPS’s production portfolio. Lazović pointed out that in the project’s second segment, completed a year ago, the production of coal at the Drmno site was increased to 12 million tons per year from nine million, without expanding the open-cast mine.

The framework agreement with China’s CMEC was signed in 2010

The deadlines were postponed several times. Officials have attributed one delay to pandemic lockdowns. The framework agreement with the contractor, China Machinery Engineering Corp. (CMEC), was signed in 2010. At the time of the groundbreaking ceremony in 2017, the Chinese government-controlled company was supposed to finish the construction in late 2021.

The endeavor at the Kostolac coal hub east of Belgrade is valued at USD 618 million. Export-Import Bank of China (Chexim or China Exim Bank) provided a 20-year loan covering 85% of the investment. Kostolac B2 was built 35 years ago, but it is the newest coal power unit in Serbia.

Kostolac B3 is one of the last projects in Southeastern Europe and the whole continent for coal-fired power plants or combustion plants overall. However, for instance, there are occasional attempts in Bosnia and Herzegovina to build more units.

Elsewhere in the Western Balkans, the part of the region which is outside of the European Union, Montenegro is reconstructing its only coal power plant, Pljevlja, and Kosovo* intends to do the same with some of its capacities and then switch a part to reserve.

Greece is about to start the trial operation of its Ptolemaida 5 thermal power plant. Turkey is planning to build a substantial number of units, but a lot of projects are being canceled.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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