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Serbia and Republic of Srpska Forge Ahead with Drina River Hydroelectric Projects

In a pivotal move for regional energy advancement, Serbia and the Republic of Srpska have joined forces to develop new hydroelectric power plants on the Drina river, setting the stage for increased cooperation and renewable energy production

In a significant step towards bolstering regional energy cooperation, the Electric Power Company of Serbia (EPS) and its counterpart from the Republic of Srpska (EPRS) have inked an agreement to collaboratively prepare the technical documentation necessary for the construction of new hydroelectric power plants along the Drina river’s middle reaches. This move, encapsulated by the signatures of EPS CEO Dragomir Markovic and EPRS CEO Branislava Milekic, marks an important extension of the energy collaboration between the governments of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska.

The pact, which aligns with an April agreement on constructing three hydroelectric facilities in the same river section, underscores a shared commitment to harnessing the Drina’s water power. According to Milekic, preliminary studies suggest the potential for 300 MW hydroelectric plants capable of generating 1,200 GWh annually, with an estimated total investment of €819 million. The final decision on the four or five specific construction sites will follow the completion of the requisite documentation.

This agreement is part of a broader strategy that traces back to 2008 when EPS and EPRS agreed to explore hydroelectric opportunities along the Drina’s upper reaches, involving projects at Buk Bijela, Foca, Paunca, and Sutjeska totaling €435 million. Milekic highlighted the ongoing preparation of a feasibility study and the search for a strategic partner to bring these projects to fruition.

The ceremony, witnessed by State Secretary of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development Stefano Saglia, also highlighted Italy’s interest in importing Balkan electricity. This interest is in line with EU commitments towards renewable energy sourcing, aiming for a 20% share by 2020. The involvement of Italy, alongside Serbian and Republic of Srpska governments in leveraging the Drina’s potential, points to a tripartite approach to energy and environmental policy within the region.

The event, graced by the presence of ministers Petar Skundric and Slobodan Puhalac, signifies a concerted effort across borders to develop sustainable energy infrastructure, promising enhanced energy security and environmental sustainability for the Balkans and beyond.

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