Serbia attracting much attention -- Over 400 MW advancing

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With decisions on a firm legislative framework governing renewable energy development in Serbia due to be finalised by the end of the year, activity in the wind power sector has picked up in recent months. Four projects with a combined capacity of over 400 MW are in final stages of development, while provisional consent has been granted for project plans involving Canadian firm Trillion Energy Inc. The details of Trillion's project have yet to be revealed.

The government believes that potential for wind development in Serbia is small compared with biomass, hydro or solar, but it says it is determined to exploit all of its renewables resources to the maximum. Next month the country is due to set a minimum target for the renewables content of its electricity supply by 2010, expected to be around 30%, according to Dejan Stojadinovic, the country's assistant energy minister. Biomass is anticipated to account for almost half of this, large hydro around 27%, wind, at most, just 4%.

Even so, the target could see up to 1300 MW of wind power, generating up to 2300 GWh a year, which for a country currently dependent on lignite is an invaluable contribution to diversifying its energy supply, says Stojadinovic. By the end of the year, work on a new market framework to achieve the 2010 target should be complete. The new legislation is planned to come into force on July 1, 2009.

For wind to be viable in Serbia, the establishment of a strong price support mechanism is a key issue, notes Stojadinovic, who expects to kick-start the market by mandating power purchase prices. A market for green energy certificates may be introduced. The country's power company, Elekroprivreda Srbije, pays just EUR 0.033/kWh for its electricity at present, one of the lowest rates in the south-east European region. The good news for wind developers is that Stojadinovic expects the purchase rate for wind to be around EUR 0.07-0.08/kWh.


The four wind projects at the most advanced stage of development include the 200 MW Bavaniste Wind Park in the Kovin municipality. It is being developed in two phases by Wellbury Wind Energy, based in Belgrade, with an 88 MW first phase. The next biggest project is the 187 MW Vracev Gaj wind farm in Bela Crkva, until recently slated to be 100 MW. Local firm VPBC Vetar is the developer. The two other main projects are Dolovo and Indjija, both at 20 MW.

The Serbian energy ministry has promised to help the first three secure all necessary permits. "Our goal is that the projects are realised as soon as possible," says Stojadinovic. "We support all projects that foresee the increased use of renewable energy sources in Serbia." He expects the first wind turbines to be installed at Bavaniste by mid-2009.

The 20 MW Dolovo wind farm is likely to be Serbia's first. Due online by the end of the year, it will comprise 25, 800 kW turbines and cost in the region of EUR 30 million, says Loger's Zlatoje Galentin. All necessary contracts with the provincial energy authority and the municipality of Pancevo are signed and Loger is seeking investors for the project.

Meantime, the energy ministry has granted provisional consent for Toronto firm Trillion Energy to develop a series of wind plant. Specific project contracts with Trillion are expected to be signed by authorities from the municipality of Jagodina. Details remain scarce. The head of the project, Zivotije Jovanovic, says that Trillion took the initiative, proposing the project in February. It will be entirely financed by Trillion, Jovanovic says, although the municipality of Jagodina will get 20% of the energy generated.

The Spanish wind industry also has an eye to Serbia. Spain's government is paying for wind measurements on Kornjet Hill near Negotin as well as in the municipalities of Veliko Gradiste and Titel. Serbian-Hungarian company Vojvodjanska Energetika has signed an agreement with the municipality of Kanjiza in northern Serbia to start wind assessments soon, after which it hopes to install at least one turbine. Last year there were reports that Canada's Helimax and Austria's MTC, through its local subsidiary Windrise Energy from Novi Sad, would take part in wind projects in Pancevo, but there has been no movement on these since.

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