Norwegian firm invests to build six Bosnia hydro plants

Norwegian renewable energy developer Technor Energy ASA agreed November 28 to invest 200 million euros (US$259 million) to build six hydropower projects on the Bosna River in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Prime Minister Milorad Dodik of the autonomous Bosnian Serb republic, Republika Srpska, announced the agreement, which follows the republic’s award last year of concessions to Technor to build the plants in northwestern Bosnia.

“The announced investment will enable output of additional 76 MW of power,” Dodik said after a meeting with Norwegian partners.

Dodik said construction would start next year, but gave no additional details.

To support its development of the concessions, Technor said German investment company KlimaINVEST has bought shares in Technor. A division of Aquila Capital Group, KlimaINVEST focuses on investments in clean renewable energy sources such as hydropower.

Technor said its concessions represent the largest international investment in Republika Srpska. In addition to generating 420 gigawatt-hours per year, the projects are to provide other benefits such as flood control, Technor said.

The government of Republika Srpska, which makes up Bosnia along with the Muslim-Croat federation, has awarded a series of concession contracts for the construction of small hydropower plants. Earlier this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development recruited consultants to implement an environmental assessment and to help promote hydro projects on the Vrbas and Bosna rivers. (HNN 4/18/08)

Dodik said in October the Serb republic had the potential for 10 medium-sized hydropower plants, 100 smaller hydro plants, and three new thermal electric power plants. (HNN 10/6/08) He said the republic is in talks with Germany’s RWE on future hydro development.

Neighboring Serbia’s State Secretary of Energy Nikola Rajakovic said last week Serbia was set to establish a joint venture with Republika Srpska to build hydropower plants on the Drina River in eastern Bosnia.

“When finished, the hydro plants could bring additional 2 billion kilowatt-hours annually,” Rajakovic said.

In 2007, Dodik said Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs were close to sealing an agreement to build the 450-MW Buk Bijela hydroelectric project on the Drina. (HNN 6/20/07) Construction of Buk Bijela is estimated to cost 200 million euros (US$268.3 million).

The Serb Republic’s state power company, Elektroprivreda RS, had initially planned to build a plant with Serbia and neighboring Montenegro, but Montenegro pulled out of the project due to environmental concerns.

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