The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €40 million loan to Serbia’s electricity distribution company, Elektrodistribucija Srbije (EDS) to finance the roll-out of smart metering infrastructure.
The loan proceeds will be used for the first phase of smart meter deployment, such as the installation of software and hardware, and integration of the new system. Around 205,000 smart meters are expected to be installed in Serbia’s three cities of Kraljevo, Čačak and Niš.
The investment will improve the security and reliability of the power supply, reduce commercial losses and improve tariff collection rates. The expected reduction in technical losses, due to old equipment, will lead to CO2 emissions savings of 5,000 tonnes each year.
Furthermore, the smart metering infrastructure will encourage new renewable energy projects and help to integrate prosumers into the power distribution system, in line with the new Law on Renewable Energy Sources.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, prof. Zorana Mihajlovic, PhD, held a meeting today with the delegation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and then attended the signing of the guarantee agreement for the project “Smart Meters” between the Ministry of Finance and EBRD, as well as the loan agreement for the same project between “Elektrodistribucija Srbije” and EBRD.
On this occasion, Mihajlovic pointed out that the goal of the state is for every part of Serbia to have a constant and reliable supply of quality electricity, and that investments in the distribution network will contribute to that.
“Today, Serbia makes losses in the distribution network, about 200 million euros a year, and it is a pity that that money goes to waste, instead of investing it in further development. Installing smart meters is one way to reduce those losses. But, that is not the only advantage of this project, it will contribute to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by five thousand tons per year, but also help everyone who is on the path of energy transition, ie prosumers who will produce and consume energy from renewable sources. In order to live well, we must have quality electricity, citizens in certain parts of Serbia know that best. “Today, we signed a contract for the first 40 million euros, the state gave guarantees for that, we will talk to all international partners on how to invest more in the distribution network, because that is the basis for being energy secure,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister thanked EBRD for the successful cooperation in the previous ministry and expressed confidence that this cooperation would be even better in the energy and mining sectors.
Nandita Parshad, EBRD’s managing director for sustainable infrastructure, said it was a 40m-euro loan and that the project would contribute to the modernization of the entire network and lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions.
“This is just the beginning of our cooperation on this project, which provides support to prosumers, enables them to control and reduce their consumption and contributes to the reduction of technical and commercial losses. We are glad that we can contribute to the modernization and increase of energy efficiency in Serbia, ” she said.
Sasa Stevanovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, pointed out that the signing of these agreements was a serious step towards further realization of Serbia’s energy policy.
“This is a new way of measuring electricity consumption. The total value of the project is 80 million euros, today we signed contracts for the 1A phase – procurement and installation of systems and software, and replacement of about 205,000 smart meters. This phase will be completed by 2025, and the entire project by 2027, “said Stevanovic.
The director of the business system of “Elektrodistribucija Srbije”, Sasa Stefanovic, said that through this project, a modern system of managing electricity consumption will be procured in three cities – Cacak, Nis and Kraljevo.
“The benefits are great, both for” Elektrodistribucija Srbije “and for the citizens. “We will be able to monitor the quality of the delivered energy and deliver the citizens the energy they deserve, and we will also be able to identify any damage and reduce losses,” he said.
The signing of the agreement was preceded by a meeting between Ms Mihajlovic and the EBRD delegation, led by Charlotte Ruhe, which discussed current and future projects in mining and energy sectors.
This project is also aligned with EBRD’s digitalisation agenda as it envisages the roll-out of smart meters which will support the digitalisation of the country’s power sector, enhancing the reliability and flexibility of supply and demand side management.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia and has invested more than €6.7 billion across 289 projects in the country to date. The EBRD is focusing on support for private-sector development, the improvement of public utility services and on the overall transition to a green economy.
Source and Photo: www.mre.gov.rs