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BiH's EPBiH pursues several renewables projects

BiH's EPBiH pursues several renewables projects

Date: November 18th 2022

Author: Maja Žuvela

Category: En.vision

Topic: Electricity , Renewables , Coal , Energy policy , CO2 emissions , Economy , Ecology , En.vision

Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) largest power utility expects to get a zoning permit soon for two solar power plants with a combined capacity of up to 50 MW, its general manager told Montel on Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Norway – Western Balkans Business Conference in Belgrade, EPBiH general manager Admir Andelija said in an interview that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has expressed interest in helping the utility finance the Gracanica 1 and Gracanica 2 solar power plants near the central town of Bugojno.

The new plants will be built at the sites of former coal mine ash and slag dumps.

Last year, EPBiH earmarked several open-pit coal mines, as well as some ash and slag deposit sites, for solar power projects as part of its long-term decarbonisation plan.

Earlier in November, it also signed a 25-year land lease contract for the construction of an 8.8 MW solar power plant at a former coal mine site in the north-eastern Banovici municipality, while in July it invited bids for the construction of a 15 MW solar power plant at the site of the former Breza coal mine.

Andelija told Montel that EPBiH is also trying to secure permits for the 32 MW Podvelezje 1 solar farm. It will be located near the 48 MW namesake wind farm operated by the utility.

Andelija said that EPBiH still hopes to be able to acquire rights for the construction of the 32 MW Podvelezje 2 wind farm in southern BiH.

He explained to Montel that a local company which had won a concession for the project has also expressed an interest in selling it to EPBiH, but the project is in an early development stage, well below EPBiH requirements.

EPBiH has also completed a wind speed test at the Vlasic plateau location in central BiH, where it aims to build the Bitovnja wind farm with an installed capacity of 50-90 MW. It has also concluded a loan deal for the project with Germany's KfW bank.

“I believe that by the next summer, the preparatory phase will be completed and that is when we can start building the project,” said Andelija.

LCPD breach

He also addressed the open letter that the Vienna-based Energy Community sent to BiH in October, demanding that it address its breach of the Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD) regarding the continued operation of two thermal power units operated by EPBiH.

EPBiH argued that the continued operation of the 300 MW unit 4 at the Tuzla coal plant and the 300 MW unit 5 at the Kakanj coal plant is necessary to ensure the Federation entity’s security of power supply.

Andelija said that the parliament of BiH's Federation entity, where the utility operates, has allowed EPBiH to run these plants and would also need to make a decision to stop them if needed.

Apart from the Podvelezje wind farm, EPBiH operates coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 1,165 MW and three hydropower plants with a combined capacity of 517 MW.



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