Five Small Hydropower Stations go into Operation out of 115 Concession Contracts

Tuesday August 21st, 2012
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Government-run Republika Srpska (RS) Power Authority has connected to the entity energy grid five small hydropower stations built in accordance with the concession licenses awarded by the entity government in the recent years. These are: Rudo-based hydropower stations Štrpci, Sućeska 1 and 2; Kotor Varoš-based hydropower station Divić and Kalinovik-based Bistrica B5. In the first six months of this year they have produced power totaling 803,516 KM, in other words, they provided a combined 9 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of power to the entity grid.

According to an RS Regulatory Commission for Energy and the RS Government’s resolution, the electricity produced from renewable energy is purchased at a premium price—between 0.11 KM and 0.14 KM per kWh—depending on the size of a hydropower station. This represents a doubling of an earlier purchase price that the concessionaires had considered to be discouraging investment in construction of small hydropower stations.

The concessionaires interviewed by CIN reporters said that a higher purchase price would serve as an incentive to build more hydropower stations. Dragoljub Malić, the owner of Divić small hydro-station said that he’s on the roll. Two power stations are in the final phases and he had concession contracts for another three, but could not go into the operation due to some bureaucratic hurdles. He hopes that he’d put into operation three more hydro-power stations next year.

“It is certain that these facilities are going to become a part of the Bosnian energy grid,” said Malić. Out of the five which are currently in operation, Divić was the first one.

Last year the RS energy grid had received power from four hydropower stations of independent producers which brought them revenues worth around half-million KM for around 7 GWh of power. In 2010 and 2009 there were also four power stations in the grid and the year before three. Their combined power output during those three years reached 18 GWh for which they got around 1.5 million KM.

According to the RS Energy Development Strategy until 2030 which was published in Aug. 2010, the entity is rich in hydropower that has not been mined to its full potential. The most significant potential lies in the basins of the Drina, Vrbas and Trebišnjica rivers, and the smaller part in the basins of the Una, Sana, Bosna and Neretva rivers.

Until this May, 50 concessionaires have signed 115 concession agreements according to the records from the RS Commission for Concessions. This will require an investment totalling €400 million while producing a combined electricity of 1,500 Gigawhatt-hours which could meet a 6-year demand for electricity. Ten more hydropower stations are under construction.

Due to the poor implementation of concession agreements, the RS Commission for Concessions recommended the RS government to terminate 36 agreements. Six agreements were terminated. The Commission reported that around 80 assigned sites were controversial because they were located in national parks. Some of them were not included in spatial or zoning plans of municipalities which subsequently denied them the construction permits.

Published: August 21, 2012.

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The Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) work is available for free to all organizations that credit CIN as their source and link to www.cin.ba.

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