Serbia utility, RWE eye $2.8 bln joint energy investments -govt
BELGRADE, Sept 10 |
BELGRADE, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Serbia's power company and RWE , Germany's second largest utility, said they would sign a memorandum on Monday on joint energy projects and the Serbian government said these involved investment of 2.2 billion euros ($2.82 billion).
"We see it as the beginning of a strategic partnership. But the memorandum of understanding does not include concrete numbers for investments," a spokeswoman for RWE said, adding that the deal with utility Elektroprivreda Srbije would target hydro power projects.
But Serbia's government spokesman told Reuters that under the proposed deal Serbia and RWE would jointly invest 2.2 billion euros into a number of energy projects, without specifying the time frame for the investments.
He said the projects include construction of a 150 megawatt (MW) hydro power complex on the Velika Morava river, a 238 MW hydro power complex on the Drina river, as well as of a new 650 MW coal-fired unit at Serbia's Nikola Tesla power plant.
In 2009 Serbia and RWE agreed to add about 3,000 MW of hydro power capacity from new power plants.
Germany's plan to phase out nuclear power has caused billions of euros in writedowns and triggered asset sales and job cuts at major utilities, including RWE.
RWE aims to move away from nuclear power and increase efforts in renewable energy, in which it plans to invest 5 billion euros over four years.
The combined installed capacity of Serbia's power plants is 8,359 MW, of which two thirds are ageing communist-era coal-fired plants.
It urgently needs to upgrade its energy infrastructure, which was damaged and mismanaged during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, to meet growing demand and cut future reliance on imports. ($1 = 0.7812 euros) (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic and Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf, Germany; Writing by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Anthony Barker)
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