Buk Bijela – Green Power of EPS and ERS

The Hydro Project Upper Drina Initiated

Construction of this type of hydropower plants is significant for energy security and for environmental protection as well

After more than four decades, investments in the construction of hydro-capacities on the upper course of the Drina have been initiated. The project implementation is going to be jointly realized by the Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) and Power Utility of Republic of Srpska (ERS), while the groundbreaking ceremony for the hydropower plant Buk Bijela, near Foča in the Republic of Srpska, the first of a total of three hydropower plants, was held on 17th May.

The hydropower plant Buk Bijela is a part of the project for construction of three hydropower plants on the Drina, with the total capacity of 211 MW, having the total value of approximately € 520 million. The project shall be realized by the joint venture Gornja Drina HPS, in which EPS and ERS have 51% and 49% of shares, respectively.

– The construction of Buk Bijela HPP on the Drina represents a new stage in the relationship between Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, and for the complete region as well. It is a representation of the cooperation in the interest of the coming generations that will not be limited by the borders in the field of jobs, capital, projects and survival. This is a project which opens many other doors and opportunities – said Ms. Ana Brnabic, the Prime Minister of Serbia. – The construction of this type of hydropower plants is significant for energy security and for environmental protection as well, since they have less impact on environment than thermal power plants.

The project has been thoroughly prepared, with respect to legal and technical procedures, domestic legislation and international standards.

– After decades of waiting for this project, together with Power Utility of Republic of Srpska, EPS, as a foreign investor with 51% of shares in the company Gornja Drina HPS, participates in the construction of three new hydropower plants. This € 520 million investment will bring green kilowatt-hours and enhance energy security of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska – said Mr. Vladimir Marković, assistant director of EPS and director of Key Investment Projects Department in EPS.  – It is planned that the capacity of Buk Bijela HPP, the first one to be built, will be between 93.5 MW and 114.5 MW, with designed annual generation up to 355 million kilowatt-hours.

The construction of the hydro system Upper Drina will contribute to sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental protection, and the hydropower plants will provide renewable base electricity and will add to other variable renewable energy sources.

So far, a Feasibility Study with Conceptual Design, Cost Effectiveness Study and additional evaluation of feasibility, have been prepared, and concession agreements for all three hydropower plants have been signed. The construction of the Upper Drina power plant system creates conditions for optimum management of water resources, both in terms of electricity generation and water supply, irrigation, flood risks reduction and water quality improvement.

The price of works and equipment for Buk Bijela HPP is more than €200 million, while the total investment will be up to €250 million. The future hydropower plant will have three units, with vertical Kaplan turbines. More than 500 workers of various professions and education levels are expected to be employed during the execution of works. It is estimated that about 100 full-time employees will be required during the exploitation period in this facility.

The complete project Upper Drina also foresees the construction of Foča HPP, with possible capacity between 44.15 and 53.58 MW, and Paunci HPP, with the capacity of 43.21 MW.

Bosnia and Herzegovina without jurisdiction

The President of the Government of the Republic of Srpska, Mr. Radovan Višković, said that there are no grounds for refuting projects such as this one.

–  Bosnia and Herzegovina has no jurisdiction over the construction of the Buk Bijela hydropower plant, and hence remarks from Sarajevo are groundless. This location is not a border between the Republic of Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it is exclusively the territory of the Republic of Srpska, and the concession is under the jurisdiction of the Concession Commission of the Republic of Srpska. The Government of the Republic of Serbia had no need to negotiate with anybody else but the Government of the Republic of Srpska –  Mr. Višković said.

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