Source: eKapija | Monday, 18.01.2016.| 13:14
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Serbia adopts Energy Development Strategy - Despite potential, windmills remain untapped resource

The Parliament of Serbia adopted the Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2025 in early December 2015. As underlined in that document, it is meant to trace the "long-term preferred path of energy development" in our country.
As noted, the state aims to ensure a reliable, secure, efficient and quality supply of energy and fuel as well as sustainable development of the energy sector. Also, in addition to greater competitiveness and the protection of buyers, the Government also wants to increase the share of energy from renewables and improve the environmental protection.
According to this document, strategic priorities in energy development include energy security, energy market development, and overall transition towards sustainable energy. On that path of transition, a special emphasis is placed on the importance of renewable energy sources.
The potential of renewable energy sources of the Republic of Serbia are significant as they are estimated at 5.65 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) a year. Of this amount, the potential of biomass accounts for over 60%, while the share of available technical hydropower potential in the overall potential of renewable energy sources is at around 30%. Other renewables - wind, solar energy, geothermal water - have a much smaller potential, but they are also almost completely untapped.
Thus, although Serbia is in the zone of favorable geothermal potential and resources, the use of geothermal energy for heating and other energy purposes is still in the initial phase and is very moderate given the potential and resources.
If all existing sources of thermal water were tapped, Serbia could generate about 180,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) of heat, it is said in Serbia's energy strategy which also reads that the current production of heat from these sources amount to only 5,000 toe.
By the way, Serbia is now getting about a fifth of all energy from renewable sources, while the ambitious National Action Plan for Renewables calls for the increase in the share of energy from renewable sources in the gross final energy consumption to as much as 27% by 2020. In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to have a more serious approach to energy obtained from the Sun and wind as their current share in the energy balance is almost nonexistent.
Based on currently available capacity of the power system, the maximum technical available capacity of solar power plants is 450MW, that is, 540GWh per year, and this entire capacity is awaiting some future investors.
The capacity of wind farms Serbia can count on is 500MW, and with such installed capacity, we can count on a maximum technical available potential of 1,200GWh per year.
However, of these 500MW that are placed at the disposal of investors and for which the state is ready to offer a feed-in tariff to investors, only one wind farm is in operation for now. Namely, the Italian-Serbian company MK Fintel Wind opened the first wind farm in Serbia in mid-November 2015 near Kula. Three windmills with a capacity of 9.9MW should annually generate approximately 27 milllion kWh of "green" energy for about 8,000 Serbian households.
This company, which is one of important players in the Serbian wind energy market, has also announced the opening of two more wind farms in Serbia in the near future - one in Vrsac and the other in the vicinity of Veliko Gradiste.
MK Fintel Wind CEO Tiziano Giovannetti has recently said in an interview with eKapija that the bureaucracy and administration in Serbia are still too complicated, which prolongs the time of construction and delays the opening of wind farms.
However, Serbian Mining and Energy Minister Aleksandar Antic has announced that we can soon expect the adoption of a set of three regulations which will, among other things, define the new model of feed-in contracts to ensure greater security to investors for investments in wind farms and other renewables.
According to current regulations, the feed-in tariff for electricity from wind is 9.2 eurocents per kilowatt-hour and the state is obligated to purchase electricity from investors over the next 12 years.
The list of those who expressed interest in building a wind farm in Serbia is quite long and includes some very interesting names.
For example, the Electric Power Company of Serbia (EPS) plans to build a 50MW wind farm in Kostolac, and it has already invited bids for the preparation of feasibility study for this investment.
Another energy company that is well-known to the people of Serbia - the Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS) - plans to build its own windmills. Namely, the company plans to build the wind farm Plandiste that would comprise 34 windmills with a capacity of 102MW, in which NIS and its partners intend to invest EUR 160 million.
The media in Serbia write that the interest in building wind farms in Serbia has also been expressed by the U.S. giant General Electric. At this company, the value of investment in 500MW wind farms in Dolovo and Kovacica is estimated at as many as EUR 1 billion.
It is still unclear what will happen with one of the biggest announced projects in this field in Serbia. Namely, Continental Wind Serbia initiated an idea few years ago to build the wind farm Cibuk 1 near Kovin, in which hundreds of millions of euros were supposed to be invested. However, this company had a lot of difficulties acquiring the documentation for this project, and the whole story even grew into a serious political affair few months ago. Austria's Energic is in talks to build a wind farm and biomass heating plant in Negotin, while France's IEL OIE Balkan Renewable Energy announces the construction of EUR 70 million wind farm in Basaid near Kikinda, with a capacity of about 50MW, while the construction of EUR 100 million wind farm with a total installed capacity of 35.45MW at Vrska Cuka near Zajecar is announced by the Swiss company VP Energy System.
Construction of EUR 350 million Kovacica wind farm is yet another plan presented to the public in Serbia. The investor is Belgrade-based affiliate of the Belgian firm Electrawinds K-Wind. Interest in the Bela Anta location in Dolovo near Pancevo has been expressed by the Welbury Bela Anta company.
The Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2025 is available in the PDF file below.
Milos Vlahovic

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