Bosnian power utility ERS wins rights for 95 MW hydropower plants

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The government of Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic on Thursday awarded 50-year rights to power utility ERS to build and operate two hydropower plants with combined capacity of 95 megawatts (MW) on the Drina river bordering Serbia.

The projects are expected to cost 200 million euros (174 million pounds) and are aimed at diversifying Bosnia’s energy sources.

State-controlled ERS operates two coal-fired power plants with combined capacity of 600 MW and three large and several small hydropower plants with total capacity of 617 MW. ERS had earlier agreed to build the two new plants with Serbian counterpart EPS.

Unlike its Balkan neighbours, which rely on imports to cover part of their demand, Bosnia is able to export power thanks partly to its hydropower capacity, which provides 40 percent of its electricity. The rest of Bosnia’s electricity comes from coal-fired plants.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by David Goodman