SARAJEVO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - UK-based trading and investment group Energy Financing Team (EFT) said on Tuesday it had started testing its maiden power generation facility, the 300-megawatt (MW) Stanari coal-fired power plant in northern Bosnia.
The plant was connected to the Bosnian grid for several hours on Monday during which it delivered 420 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity.
“By this small delivery the final testing phase has begun smoothly and it will last several months,” EFT said in a statement.
EFT, which focuses on power markets in central and southeast Europe, won a 30-year concession in 2008 to build the plant and expand an adjacent coal mine that will supply it at a total cost of 560 million euros ($601 million).
Construction began in 2013 and it will start operating commercially in the course of 2016, the company said, adding that the complex will employ around 900 people.
In 2013, EFT won a 350 million euro loan from the China Development Bank for the project and pledged to finance the remainder of the cost from its own equity. So far, it has invested 311 million euros into the project, it said.
The company picked Dongfang Electric Corp, one of China’s top power equipment makers, to provide equipment and carry out the construction. The Stanari plant will have an annual output of 2,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh).
Chinese investors are increasingly targeting energy projects in the Balkans, boosting their presence and showing a willingness to take bigger risks than European rivals in a market with good links to the European Union. ($1 = 0.9315 euros) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela, editing by David Evans)