Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country of around 3.8 million people, is currently a net exporter of electricity. More than half of its electricity generation capacity is made up of hydropower, while the remainder is made up of five lignite power plants. As of 2018 the country had around 2.076 MW net installed hydropower capacity larger than 10 MW, 2065 MW of lignite, 159 MW of small hydropower, 51 MW wind power, and 18.15 solar. Generation levels hover around two-thirds coal to one third hydropower, depending on the hydrological conditions.
Electricity generation BiH in GWh, 2018
|Fuel||Hydropower >10 MW||Coal (lignite)||Small hydropower||Wind||Solar PV|
In March 2018 BIH’s first wind farm – the 50.6 MW Mesihovina facility in Herzegovina, financed by Germany’s KfW – started operating. The 36 MW Jelovača plant was also in test operation as of early 2019. Several more wind farms are planned, including the Hrgud and Podveležje plants (48 MW each, both financed by KfW), but the timeline is unclear.
The coal power plants are situated in Tuzla (715 MW installed capacity), Kakanj (466 MW) Gacko (300 MW) and Ugljevik (300 MW), and – since September 2016 – Stanari near Doboj (300 MW) all with their own mines nearby.
New lignite-fired units are planned as follows:
- Tuzla unit 7 (450 MW) – financing deal signed with China Exim Bank
- Banovici – greenfield plant (350 MW) – financing expected from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
- Ugljevik III (600 MW) – no financing sources yet
- Gacko II (350 MW) – no financing sources yet but Chinese companies are interested
- Kakanj 8 (300 MW) – no financing sources yet
- Kamengrad – greenfield plant (430 MW) – no financing sources yet but Chinese companies are interested
Other lignite plants such as Bugojno and Kongora near Tomislavgrad are also mentioned periodically, however they do not seem to be moving forward.
As well as new coal capacity, Bosnia-Herzegovina plans a large amount of new hydropower capacity, which is proving at least as controversial as the coal plants. Numerous concessions have been issued to private companies in the last two decades but construction started very slowly. However in recent years it has picked up, causing increasing resistance in places like Fojnica and Kruščica. Due to the fragmented administrative system and lack of coherent energy planning it is hard to tell exactly which plants will go ahead, but a list of existing, planned and potential plants as of March 2018 can be found here.
Bosnia-Herzegovina has a renewable energy target of 40 percent by 2020 compared to 34 percent of energy in 2009. This relatively high level is accounted for mostly by hydropower and wood use in households. In 2017 it reached only 22.7 per cent, partly due to poor hydrology but also due to lack of investments.
Estimates of the country’s renewable energy potential vary widely, depending on whether environmental criteria are used and what economic assessment is used. Some estimates of cost-competitive potential for solar PV and wind include:
|IRENA Cost-competitive potential||2955 MW
|SEERMAP Decarbonisation scenario||1855 MW
|SEE-SEP The EU Road scenario||4500 MW
Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have its own natural gas extraction so it is dependent on the Beregovo – Horgos – Zvornik import route from Russia via Ukraine, Hungary and Serbia. Gas use in the country is limited by the distribution network which is only present in Sarajevo, Zenica, Zvornik and Visoko. As for oil, the Brod refinery on the Croatian border imports crude oil via the Adriatic oil pipeline JANAF. The refinery has caused anger among local people, including those in Slavonski Brod on the Croatian side of the border, with its high levels of air pollution.
Bosnia-Herzegovina could do a lot more to use energy efficiently. Electricity prices are kept artificially low and there is therefore limited incentive to make savings. According to IEA statistics, the country is more than four times as energy-intensive as the average in EU countries and has the highest energy intensity in the Western Balkans. The residential sector is responsible for the highest share of total final energy consumption and has high potential for improvements. Under the Energy Community Treaty Bosnia and Herzegovina has a 20 percent target to increase efficiency by 2020, but it has not yet done much to realise its potential.
More on coal in the Balkans
Grasping what a 600% breach of allowed SO2 emissions means is not an easy job, but our data visualisation does just that. In addition to choking the communities where coal power plants are located, SO2 pollution from the Western Balkans often reaches as far as Russia and the Black Sea Coast to the east and Germany to the West!
Despite this deadly legacy, just two years ago, all the Western Balkan countries except Albania still planned to build new coal power plants. Since then, three out of five have abandoned these plans. The region has split, creating a two-speed energy transition.
ContourGlobal is quitting the planned 500 MW Kosova e Re lignite power plant project in Kosovo. The company stated that it is now impossible for the project to meet the required milestones, citing, among others, the recent formation of a government led by a Prime Minister publicly opposed to the project.