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Stanari lignite power plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Stanari power plant under construction in early 2014.

The 300 MW Stanari power plant, promoted by EFT, constructed by China's Dongfang, and financed by the China Development Bank, is located near Doboj in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Republika Srpska part of the country. The official opening ceremony was being held on 20 September 2016. Originally it was planned to be a 420 MW plant but this was considered to be on the edge of economic viability and the capacity was reduced to 300 MW.

During the project's development a number of problems have been raised, including the following:

No environmental impact assessment for the changed project

The environmental impact assessment process was carried out only for the original, larger version of the project and the Republika Srpska authorities did not require a new process for the new, smaller plant.

While it may appear that a smaller plant has less environmental impact and therefore does not need a new study, in fact there were also several other changes which would change the plant's environmental impact:

  • Originally the project was planned to have a net thermal efficiency of 43 percent but the new version would have a net thermal efficiency of 34.1 per cent.
  • It was changed from supercritical pulverised lignite technology to subcritical Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion.
  • The cooling technology has also been changed from a wet to a dry cooling system. This is one of the main reasons for the loss of thermal efficiency.

The lack of environmental impact assessment for the new version of the project is still being challenged in the Republika Srpska courts.


Al Jazeera's Dragan Stanimirović reports, the Stanari project is causing mixed reactions from local residents and concern to environmental groups about health impacts and CO2 emissions. (Not available in English)


Compliant with EU standards ... from 15 years ago

Since 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a member of the Energy Community, which requires all members to abide by certain EU energy and environmental legislation.

This meant that while developing the Stanari project, Bosnia and Herzegovina was obliged to adhere to the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD), which regulates emissions limit values from new and existing combustion plants. However the Republika Srpska authorities did not include the emissions limit values from the LCPD in Stanari’s environmental permit, but rather much laxer standards from domestic legislation with emissions 2-3 times higher than the LCPD.

In January 2014 an official complaint was submitted to the Energy Community secretariat by the Center for Environment from Banja Luka and in July 2015 it was announced that the Stanari environmental permit would be updated following changes in the Republika Srpska legislation.

However in 2010 the EU adopted the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), which has stricter emissions limits than the LCPD, and in a few years’ time the Stanari plant will have to be brought into line with this Directive. In early 2017 the EU is also expected to adopt a new Best Available Techniques standard, which will tighten pollution limits further.


Latest developments


Press release | October 17, 2016

Sarajevo-based environmental watchdog Ekotim has submitted on Friday (October 14) an official complaint to the Energy Community dispute settlement mechanism (1) due to lax pollution limits for a new Chinese-backed 450 MW unit at the Tuzla coal power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Press release | October 17, 2016

Sarajevo-based environmental watchdog Ekotim has submitted on Friday (October 14) an official complaint to the Energy Community dispute settlement mechanism (1) due to lax pollution limits for a new Chinese-backed 450 MW unit at the Tuzla coal power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Blog entry | September 27, 2016

China cuts coal at home but state owned companies and banks drive new coal expansion overseas, despite top level promises of green growth for developing countries, writes Beth Walker from China Dialogue.

Blog entry | September 20, 2016

The Stanari lignite power plant in Bosnia officially starts operations today. If we are to have any hope of tackling climate change, it had better be the last one in the region.

Blog entry | May 27, 2016

Last year in the EU, 12.8 GW of wind power capacity was installed – more than any other electricity generation source. This means that wind can now generate 11.4% of the EU electricity consumption in a normal wind year, according to Wind Europe. At the same time Belgium and Scotland have shut down their last coal plants, signalling the golden days of coal are far behind them.

Balkans, coal


Briefing | July 31, 2016

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania all plan new lignite power plants during the next few years. In contrast, most EU countries are giving up building new coal plants and seven EU states are already coal-free. Since the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have virtually halted lending for new coal power plants, most of them are due to be financed by Chinese state banks – ExIm Bank and the China Development Bank.

Briefing | May 26, 2016

All the Western Balkans countries have committed to increase their share of renewable energy by 2020 to reach between 25 and 40 percent of their energy mix, as part of their obligations under the Energy Community Treaty. Yet this is far from obvious when examining their investment plans for new power generation capacity. Governments are actively planning to build 2800 MW of new coal plants with construction cost of at least EUR 4.5 billion. In contrast, these countries are only planning to build around 1166 MW of wind power plants, at an estimated cost of EUR 1.89 billion.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2015

Western Balkan countries have ambitious plans to increase their electricity generation over the next years. But what will happen if they all become a regional energy hub? Will there be a demand for all the available electricity?

Study | March 19, 2015

Country chapters available for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia.

For other languages, see here.

Analysing the estimated energy demand and production capacities in Western Balkan countries, this study shows that if countries realise their planned capacity expansions, the region will have a 56 per cent electricity surplus in 2024, led by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Nearly all governments in the region aspire to become electricity exporters, but the study argues that if governments fail to take into account the regional perspective, they could end up with power plants becoming simply uneconomic to operate.