The European Commission, through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), has granted €8.44 million in non-repayable aid for the financing of the reconstruction of the Bistrica Hydroelectric Power Plant and the development of a Feasibility Study with an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Central Balkan Corridor project.
As stated by the EU Delegation, the implementation of these projects will contribute to increasing renewable energy production capacities and transmission capacities by connecting Serbia with its eastern and western neighbors, thereby transforming Serbia into a significant energy hub within the European power system.
Additionally, a grant of €21.54 million has been approved for the University of Belgrade’s project on Enhancing Energy Efficiency and Integrated Energy Management, aiming to achieve substantial energy savings and reduce harmful gas emissions.
“With this new investment package, we send a clear message to our partners in the Western Balkans that their future lies within the EU, and that we are making steady progress in reducing the economic development gap. These projects will better connect the region internally and with the EU, assist in decarbonizing economies, and support the competitiveness of the private sector in the region. I now call on our partners in the Western Balkans and international financial institutions to swiftly proceed with the implementation of these projects, so that citizens and businesses in the region can reap the benefits of these investments,” stated EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi.
For the Bistrica Hydroelectric Power Plant reconstruction project, EPS (Electric Power Industry of Serbia) has been granted €7.72 million in investment funding, covering approximately one-fifth of the estimated investment value of €36.1 million.
“Through the replacement of equipment at the Bistrica Hydroelectric Power Plant, which was built over 60 years ago, its operational lifespan will be extended, contributing to supply security, increased renewable energy production share, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The project has undergone project-technical and spatial documentation, and construction permits have been obtained, with work expected to commence in the latter half of next year,” stated Minister of Mining and Energy, Dubrava Đedović.
HE Bistrica represents the third phase in the utilization of hydroenergy from the Uvac River and is the largest hydroelectric power plant in the Lim River hydroelectric system.
From its start in 1960 until the end of 2021, Bistrica has produced a total of 19,766,374 MWh of electric energy.
The rehabilitation involves maintaining the same installed power of the plant while increasing efficiency through the replacement of old units with new ones, as well as reducing failures by replacing auxiliary equipment. It is estimated that the efficiency of units will directly increase by 3-5 percent, leading to an annual electric energy production increase of around 350 GWh.
The additional capacity effect for secondary regulation of renewable energy sources allows for an additional 40 MW of wind power or 80 MW of solar power, which can be safely integrated into the system.