The Balkans are generallyreferred to as a new continental hub for renewables. All Balkan countries are committed to increase their share of RESup to 25% – 40% in their energy mix by 2020, within the Energy Community Treaty liabilities. Hydropower is already widely used across the region and thousands of new projects are scheduled for the immediate future. A number of countries have already tendered concessions in areas with promising geographical and hydrological conditions.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has approximately 3500MW of untapped hydropower potential. Macedonia has a technical hydropower potential as of 5,500 GWh, only27%of which is currently exploited. Montenegro has abundant water resources, despite its relatively small size. In Romania, there are over 550 small hydropower plants and the number is steadily increasing, driven by the recent financial incentives for the development of renewable energies.
A rapidly boosting investor interest in new projects, and the eagerness of public financial institutions to provide loans and support energy efficiency measures and renewable energy, are the good case in the point. The EBRD is the major investment player in the Balkan hydropower. The bank has supported a total of 51 plants with €240m.
The intensification of Chinese investment in the region speaks to an increasingly growing interest as well. However, China is not a top investor, with Norway, Italy, Hungary and Russia leaving it behind.
A total of 2000 HPPsare anticipated to be built in the Balkan region by 2025,with considerable €24bn to be invested in this context. For instance, 436 HPPs are expected to be built in Albania by 2025, and 568 plants in Slovenia, by 2020.
Namely, among the mega projects for Slovenian hydropower development, is the construction of HPPs on the Middle Sava River initiated by Holding Slovenskeelektrarne. The project stipulates for the construction of ten electrical power plants on the Middle Sava River: HE Suhadol, HE Trbovlje, HE Renke, HE Ponovice, HE Kresnice, HE Jevnica, HE Zalog, HE Šentjakob, HE Ježica and HE Tacen. The project investment is estimated at€1588m. Total installed capacity amounts to 358 MW.
The reconstruction of 15 SHPPs in Serbia is another example of industry development in the region. EPS has announced a tender for subcontracting the restoration of small hydropower plants: Raska, Radulaska Banja, Selyashnitsa, KratovskaReka, Pod Gradom, Turitsa and Moravica. The EBRD provided a loan of €37m for the project in general. EPS is planning to invest €0.5bn in the modernization of hydroelectric power stations before 2025
To sum it all up, the Western Balkan countries can realise their huge potential through reform, cooperation and investment, as the EBRD president explained. “We have seen remarkable progress on the political level, both in the readiness to adopt difficult, but necessary measures, and in the willingness to initiate the dialogue with neighbouring countries. What is needed now is a comparable economic boost which delivers adequate and tangible results to the people of the region.”
The greenfield HPP projects with 2018-2025 implementation period in the Balkan region, as well as projections of governments, project initiators and investors,along with innovative solutions for hydropower development,and other relevant issues, will be discussed at the International Summit and Exhibition “Hydropower Balkans 2017”, held on 15-17 November in Podgorica, Montenegro.
The international Summit “Hydropower Balkans 2017” – is a professional platform, bringing together chief ministers, major investors, decision-makers of the leading hydropower plants and investment project initiators, as well as regulators, to consolidate efforts focused on efficient implementation of key projects for the construction and reconstruction of HPPs across the Balkan region.