Republika Srpska to tender 100 MW PV project

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Bosnian state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) plans to build a 100 MW solar plant in Republika Srpska, which is one of the two administrative entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to the company’s provisional procurement plan for 2020, the BAM 134.4 million ($75.7 million) PV project will likely be tendered this year, along with two more large-scale power projects – a 48 MW wind farm and a hydroelectric installation. The solar array will be built near Trebinje, where ERS is based.

“We have already finalized the project documentation and feasibility study, as well as expropriation proceedings and network connection approval, and we are now ready to kick off the project,” said ERS Managing Director Luka Petrovic.

ERS is the second-largest power utility in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The company currently owns and operates a 300 MW coal-fired power plant in Ugljevik, Republika Srpska, as well as other hydroelectric power plants. According to the Koncar Electric Engineering Institute, the coal power plant is classified as a supercritical power station. It sources 1.8 million tons of lignite coal a year from the nearby Gacko coal mine, which is operated by Gacko Mine and Power.

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According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the biggest challenge for energy investors in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the ultra-complex process required to secure permits, which is due to a lack of harmonization between the laws of different multiple administrative units. “In practice, competence may be deemed to rest with none of the government levels or, instead, each level of the government may proclaim itself the competent authority,” the agency said.

According to a report released by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in 2018, the Western Balkan countries are home to a largely underdeveloped renewable energy market. Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia still largely rely on lignite coal generating capacity, which covers between 65% and 75% of their net generation. However, all of the countries of the region have recently implemented plans to increase the share of renewables in their respective national electricity mixes.

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