RWE Innogy and the Serbian energy utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) formed a joint venture for the development of hydropower plants in Belgrade. The contracts were signed on Wednesday in the presence of the Serbian Prime Minister and the Energy Minister. In the years to come, the joint venture company "Moravske hidroelektrane d.o.o.“ is to develop five run-of-river power plants with an installed capacity of 30 MW each on the Morava river.
Construction of the first hydropower plant can start in 2014 after the positive outcome of feasibility studies and completion of the planning process. The chain of power plants with a total installed capacity of 150 MW will generate around 650 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year. RWE Innogy has a stake of 51 % in the joint venture company; the share of EPS is 49 %.
"While hydropower in Germany has only limited development potential left, the potential in Serbia and other countries of south-eastern Europe for both run-of-river and pumped-storage power plants is considerable. We aim to tap and use this potential by forming strategic partnerships, such as the partnership with EPS", said Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt, Chief Executive Officer of RWE Innogy GmbH. Construction of all five run-of-river power plants on the Morava river is estimated to take around seven years. The Morava is the main river in Serbia. It stretches over 185 km and flows into the Danube south of Belgrade.
RWE Innogy is responsible for the planning and construction of hydropower plants in the RWE Group as well as the operation of approx. 90 plants in six countries. "With the focused development of hydropower, we are expanding the renewable energy portfolio at RWE. Hydropower is plannable and has a high availability. This makes hydropower a reliable energy source for baseload generation. Pumped-storage power plants may by used to compensate for the fluctuations in wind and solar generation and thus ensure the stability of our grids", explained Dr. Olaf Heil, Head of the Hydropower division at RWE Innogy.
EPS is a Serbian energy utility owned by the Serbian state. The company has a workforce of around 42,000 employees and is the largest employer in the country. In Serbia, EPS owns 7,124 MW of coal, gas and hydropower plant capacities. In 2009, the company generated a total of 35,855 gigawatt-hours of electricity. The share of hydropower in the energy mix of EPS is 2,835 MW, produced at 12 power plant sites across Serbia.