Serbian power utility EPS said it aimed to invest 80 million euros ($115.7 million) to build 18 small hydro power plants and to overhaul 17 old ones with a total capacity of 80 megawatts.
The first new small hydro power plant, with 100 KW and 800 KW turbines, will be put into operation in September in southern Serbia and will produce up to 3 million KWh of electricity, EPS said in a statement on Wednesday.
It said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is set to provide a 45 million euro loan for the overhaul of 17 plants and the construction of nine new ones, while the remainder of the project would be financed by EPS.
It added that EBRD could provide assistance for the next project phase, which includes the building of another nine hydro power plants.
Serbia, a European Union applicant, is committed to EU targets to produce 20 percent of its power from renewables by 2020 and to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and boost energy efficiency by 20 percent, said EPS.
The combined installed capacity of Serbia’s power plants is 8,359 MW, of which two thirds are ageing communist-era coal-fired plants.
In 2010, EPS produced 36 GWh of electricity, or 1 percent above target, with hydro output hitting a record level.
But the Balkan country urgently needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure, which was damaged and mismanaged during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, to meet growing demand and reduce future reliance on imports.