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Serbia issues tender for two thermal plants

  Serbia published on Tuesday a tender to build two coal-powered thermal plants with a combined capacity of 1,400 megawatt hours.

Potential partners have until March 20 to send letters of interest. The two plants, one with capacity of 700 megawatt hours and another of two 350 megawatt units each, will be the first power production facilities built in Serbia in 20 years.

Government officials said this month the best bidder would be selected based on a proposed electricity price and the ownership stake. Foreign partners will have a majority stake in the new companies that will range between 51 and 80%.

In 2009, Serbia will produce 38 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to meet the needs of households and industrial consumers. But with expected consumption growth of two percent a year it will need to build new capacity. “We expect the qualification procedure to be finished in the first half of 2009,” an ad published in the Politika newspaper said.

Serbia’s power production and transmission facilities were hit in the 1990s when Serbia faced sanctions after warring with neighboring Croatia and Bosnia. The facilities were also damaged by NATO bombs in 1999 to halt the killing of civilians in Kosovo.

In the winter of 2000 Serbs experienced up to six hours of daily blackouts due to electricity shortages. After late strongman Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in 2000, the European Union provided more than €400 million ($525.9 million) to help Serbia’s energy sector. (Reuters)