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European Commission approves funding for Serbia’s Bistrica hydropower plant

The European Commission has approved a non-refundable grant of 8.44 million euros for energy-related assistance through its Western Balkans Investment Framework (4 August).

This funding will be used to finance the reconstruction of the Bistrica Hydropower Plant and the development of a feasibility study with an environmental impact assessment for the Central Balkans Corridor project, the Serbian Mining and Energy Ministry has said.

These projects will connect Serbia with its eastern and western neighbours, positioning the country as a “significant energy hub of the European power system,” the Ministry said in a press release.

“By replacing equipment at the Bistrica Hydropower Plant, which was built over 60 years ago, its lifespan will be extended, contributing to supply security, increasing the share of renewable energy production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Project planning and technical documentation have been completed, and construction permits have been obtained, with construction scheduled to begin in the second half of next year,” said Dubrava Đedović, Serbia’s Mining and Energy Minister.

Under the EU’s investment framework, the state-owned power company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has been allocated over 7 million euros for the Bistrica Hydropower Plant reconstruction project, covering around one-fifth of its estimated investment value of 36.1 million euros.

Whilst for the development of the feasibility study for the Central Balkans Corridor project, the EU’s executive body has allocated over 700,000 euros for the state-owned power system operator Elektromreža Srbije (EMS) to carry out the project.

The Central Balkans Corridor will involve the construction of a new power line connecting central Serbia with the Kostolac region, and in the second phase, connecting Serbia and Bulgaria with a new 400-kilowatt (kV) power line, as well as building new power lines connecting eastern and western Serbia.

Funds for the Bistrica Hydropower Plant rehabilitation were allocated under the 8th call for investment grants of the Western Balkans Investment Framework, while funds for the feasibility study were allocated from the Framework’s 29th call for technical assistance.

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