In 2020, European Union has for the first time generated more electric power from renewable sources than from coal and gas: 38% vs. 37% from fossil fuels. The remaining 25% of energy was generated by nuclear power plants
According to the projections of the Energy Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2025, with projections until 2030, the total potential of renewable energy sources in our country is 5.65 million toe (tonne of oil equivalent) per year. According to the last available 2019 data, 2.6 million toe of the total potential was used. According to the data of Ministry of Mining and Energy, the share of RES in gross final energy consumption in 2019 was 21.44 percent. During 2020 no large energy facilities using renewable energy sources as the basic energy product were connected to the national system.
Until now eight wind farms with the total capacity of 398 MW were connected to the electric power system of the Republic of Serbia.
The use of wind power for electricity generation has existed in Serbia for only a decade, and the first larger wind parks were opened in 2018, when a surge in their expansion began. Several large projects are being prepared and developed and there’s potential for growth, especially in the region where košava wind blows, South Banat, East Serbia, eastern slope of Kopaonik Mountain, on Zlatibor Mountain and Pešter plateau, on mountain terraces on altitudes above 800 m and in valleys of large rivers.
The cost of wind farm equipment is constantly decreasing while the technical performances of these energy facilities are constantly improving. This leads to reduced prices of energy generated by wind which, consequently, is being increasingly used in the energy sector- here we find the balance between public and private interests: the business is profitable and environment protected from pollution.
The use of small wind farms for the use of an individual household or facility is slow to gain ground both in the world and in our country.
Until now, 107 solar power plants were constructed in Serbia with Government’s support in the form of cost reductions and other incentives. These are small capacity ground and roof mounted facilities. Several hundred requests for feed-in tariffs were rejected due to the existing 10MW quota. Beside by privileged power producers, solar power plants have also been constructed by private investors, either for their own needs or for the purposes of sale to electric power traders. It is estimated that about 3MW of solar power plants were constructed without government incentives. It is expected that an investment boom and the arrival of large investors into solar power will take place in the next couple of years.
Both companies and citizens have exhibited interest in solar power. This is precisely what creates market space for manufacturers, traders and installers of solar panels and other equipment.
In line with the Draft Law on Renewable Energy Sources which has defined the use of RES as a matter of public interest of special importance for the Republic of Serbia, the households and the industry are for the first time enabled to become RES-self consumers, and citizens can form RES communities. Households and industry will, thus, be able to install RES on their buildings and use the generated energy for their own consumption, while storing the surplus or delivering it to the system.
About 80% of electric power from renewable energy sources in Serbia is generated by hydro power plants.
Large hydropower plants with the status of RES producers who don’t receive government incentives and are a part of the system of public utility company Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) generate as much as 2355 MW. EPS also owns 15 small hydro power plants with the total capacity of 20 MW. Also, private investors have constructed 122 small hydro power plants with the total capacity of 77.61 MW, while 32 micro hydro-power plants with the status of temporary privileged producer and the total capacity of approximately 30 MW are under construction.
Hydro-power plants generate about 30% of the EPS’ total power production, with more than two thirds of that energy generated by HPP Đerdap. Apart from in HPP Đerdap, EPS is also generating electric power in Kladovo and Drina-Lim hydro-power plant “Bajina Bašta”.
Serbia is a country with long tradition in hydro power. First power plant using a renewable energy source was the HPP “Pod gradom” on Đetinja River in the town of Užice which was constructed in 1900. At the time, such facilities in Serbia were developed through private initiatives. Thus, local industrialists established the Leskovac Electric Joint-stock Company in 1901 which constructed the second hydro-power plant “Vučje” only two years later. The first power lines in Serbia were constructed for the purpose of supplying Leskovac with electricity, and the city’s ensuing accelerated industrial growth was no coincidence.
According to the data from the Strategy for Development of Energy Sector of Republic of Serbia by 2025, the largest potential of Serbian renewable energy sources lies in biomass and it amounts to 3,4 toe (tonnes oil equivalent) per year, which makes up more than a half of the defined national potential. Without going into the methodology for calculation of these projections, it can be stated that biomass potential remains untapped. Biomass potentials are as follows: agricultural biomass, forest waste, biodegradable waste and liquid manure.
Only one biomass power plant was constructed with the support of government incentives, while several others are in development and construction.
Biogas is a type of gas biofuel generated through the process of anaerobic fermentation of renewable raw materials, organic waste from food processing industry and fertilizers. It is used for the generation of heat energy, electric power and combined heat and power.
Biogas plants in Serbia are considerably more numerous than the biomass ones and, according to the latest data, there are 28 of them with the total capacity of 27MW, while 73 biogas power plants with the temporary privileged power producer status and the capacity of approximately 80MW are under construction.
During the recent years, large farms in Serbia, especially fattening cattle farms, have constructed biogas plants for organic waste with the purpose of simultaneous profit generation and environment protection.
Apart from the well-known renewable energy sources (sun, water, wind, air, biomass, biogas) biomass, biogas), there is a growing interest in geothermal energy but also completely new technologies such as green hydrogen.
Geothermal energy is a largely untapped resource in Serbia, especially in the Panon basin. Apart from by spas, which are not nearly as numerous as they could be, thermal sources could also be used for heat generation, i.e. the district heating system, as well as for the industrial needs. Foreign investors have been reviewing possible locations for development of geothermal power plants for several years now, and the construction of a first facility of this type could potentially take place in 2021.
Green hydrogen has been identified in the Draft Law on RES as an energy product to be promoted and developed in Serbia. It can be used in heat energy generation, transport and industry. This energy product is produced by the well know process of electrolysis, but in order for the hydrogen to be “green” the power used for its production needs to come from renewable sources (non-green hydrogen currently in use in the industry is generated from natural gas with huge emissions of carbon-dioxide). Hydrogen combustion produces water which makes it completely environment safe. Introduction of green hydrogen into the cycle would enable the storing of electric power and its use during the periods without wind or sunshine, thus making the green energy generation system highly sustainable.