Bosnian Serbs, Serbia advance Drina River hydro

The state-owned utility of the Bosnian Serb republic, Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (EPRS), has agreed with neighboring Serbia’s utility, Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS), to set up a joint venture soon to build four hydropower plants on the eastern Drina River, which forms their common border.

Republika Srpska, the government of the Bosnian Serb portion of Bosnia, identified the projects as 450-MW Buk Bijela, 55.5-MW Foca, 43.2-MW Paunci, and 10.04-MW Sutjeska. The projects, worth 450 million euros (US$566.9 million), are to have total annual generation of 800 gigawatt-hours.

Petar Skundric, Serbia’s minister of Mining and Energy; Slobodan Puhalic, Republika Srpska’s minister of Industry, Energy, and Mining; and the directors of the Serbian and Republika Sprska utilities, Vladimir Djordjevic and Branislava Milekic, met February 12 to advance cooperation on the projects.

The officials discussed solutions and feasibility studies for harnessing the hydro potential of the upper Drina and Sutjeska rivers.

The two governments first said in 2007 that they were close to an agreement to build Buk Bijela. (HNN 6/20/07) The Bosnia Serb republic always has been close to Serbia, which supported it in the 1992-1995 war against Bosnian Muslims and Croats.

In December, German utility group RWE AG expressed interest in investing more than 1 billion euros (US$1.27 billion) in the Bosnian Serb energy sector, including hydropower, possibly on the Drina. (HNN 12/3/08)

Bosnia utility to build 17 small hydro plants

Meanwhile, the utility serving Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation, Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH), announced it plans to invest 67.5 million marka (US$44.3 million) in the construction of 17 small hydropower plants under a concession from the town of Konjic.

“The plants, with total installed capacity of 22 MW, will be built on the Neretvica River in southeastern Bosnia and produce 83.5 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year,” EPBiH said February 19.

Konjic awarded a 30-year concession to EPBiH on condition that it employs up to 70 percent locals in construction work and respects environmental requirements.

EPBiH has said it plans to invest close to 1.5 billion marka (US$984 million) in the overhaul of existing facilities and the construction of new hydro and thermal power plants and renewable energy resources, such as wind, in the next three years.

The investment plans by EPBiH relate only to the Muslim-Croat federation, an autonomous region that makes up Bosnia along with Republika Srpska, under the Dayton peace accords that ended the 1992-1995 war.

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