Bosnia's ERS to add 430 MW of renewables by 2026 - Reuters

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JAHORINA Mount., Bosnia, April 27 (Reuters) - Bosnia's second-largest power utility ERS plans to add 430 megawatt (MW) of renewable energy sources by 2026 at a cost of 800 million euros ($851 million), ERS General Manager Luka Petrovic said on Wednesday.

Majority state-run utility ERS will carry out the largest portion of projects targeting solar, wind and hydro sources, Petrovic told Reuters on the margins of an economic conference on the Bosnian mountain Jahorina.

"Using our own funds but also loans we are currently working on five projects that would add 430 MW for Republika Srpska, with total output of about 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity," Petrovic said in an interview.

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ERS, based in Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic, operates two coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 600 MW and three big and several small hydropower plants with a total capacity of 617 MW.

Among the projects in its pipeline, Petrovic listed hydro-power plants on the rivers Trebisnjica, Drina and Bistrica, and a wind-farm and a solar park, all in the southeastern Bosnia.

The 159 MW Dabar power plant on the Trebisnjica river, estimated to cost 661 million Bosnian marka ($360.8 million), will be part of the planned Gornji Horizonti 250 MW hydropower complex, which is also expected to incorporate two smaller hydropower plants - Nevesinje and Bileca.

In January, the HE Dabar company sealed a 180 million euro deal with the Export-Import Bank of China to partly finance its construction agreed with China Gezhouba Group.

ERS also plans to start building the 125 MW Buk Bijela hydro power plant, the part of a system of three hydro power plants on the Drina river agreed under a deal by the Serb Republic and Serbia to diversify their future energy mix.

Work has already begun on building three smaller hydro-power plants on the river Bistrica with total capacity of 39.5 MW.

Petrovic said projects, including the wind farm Hrgud with capacity of 48 MW and solar power station Trebinje 1 with capacity of 73 MW, will bring ERS a direct profit of 150-200 million euros a year, pending the sale price of electricity.

Unlike its Balkan neighbours which rely on imports to cover much of their energy needs, Bosnia is able to export power due in part to its hydropower capacity, which provides 40 percent of its electricity. The rest comes from coal-fired plants.

($1 = 0.9398 euros)

($1 = 1.832 Bosnian marka)

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Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by David Evans

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