Serbia has no plans to privatise its state-run power monopoly Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) but wants to boost private investments in the energy sector, an official said on Wednesday.
“We are not ready to alter our strategy about the future of EPS,” Dusan Mrakic, the state secretary with the Energy Ministry told a panel in Belgrade.
The combined installed capacity of Serbia’s power plants is 8,359 MW, of which two thirds are ageing communist-era coal-fired plants.
Serbia needs to urgently upgrade its energy infrastructure, which was damaged and mismanaged during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, to meet the growing demand and reduce future reliance on imports.
“Serbia’s strategic and economic interest is to preserve existing and build new capacities in the energy sector and that can be done through public and private investments,” Mrakic said.
He said Serbia and China will within two months wrap up talks about a $850 million loan for an upgrade of coal-fired power plant Kostolac, part of a larger $1.25 billion project to make the 700 MW plant more environmentally friendly and boost coal output there.
In February, Serbia and Italy’s Seci Energia signed a deal worth $1.1 billion to build hydro-power plants with a combined capacity of 365 mega-watts on the Drina river bordering Serbia and Bosnia.
The deal is part of a 2009 energy pact between Serbia and Italy which also includes the construction of 10 small hydro-power plants on Serbia’s Ibar river with a combined capacity of 103.2 MW.