At the end of May, the Ministry of Mining and Energy of Serbia ordered the suspension of the construction of the thermal power plant Kolubara B in the municipality of Lazarevac, not far from the coal mine, until economic and environmental feasibility studies are done. This caused fear among the workers that they would lose their jobs, which is why they organized a protest rally.
The public company that produces electricity, the Electric Power Industry of Serbia, headed by the acting director Milorad Grčić, is not satisfied with such a decision of the Ministry and claims that because of that, Serbia will have a problem with the lack of electricity.
“Kolubara B” started to be built several decades ago, and according to a rough estimate, about 400 million euros have been spent so far, but construction has not progressed from the beginning, and not all the necessary permits have been provided.
According to the explanation of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, by stopping the construction of that thermal power plant, Serbia has decided to take the first serious step in the decarbonisation of the energy sector and the implementation of the energy transition.
Coordinator of the environmental movement Coalition for Sustainable Mining Zvezdan Kalmar. believes that Serbia cannot base its energy policy on coal
“We are not only against Kolubara B, but against the construction of any new thermal power plant. The price of electricity to cover the environmental and climatic consequences had to automatically rise from the current five or six euro cents to 25 and more,” says Kalmar.
The Ministry announced that the energy transition does not mean the sudden closure of thermal power plants, nor the loss of jobs, but above all the adoption of a plan until 2050 that will ensure that Serbia has enough energy. This includes investments in the construction of new energy capacities and the creation of new jobs.
“This is now at the level of initial permits. We can claim that they will not get permits until some 2025. When they start building, it may be over by 2030. This means that the project, which takes 50 years to repay the capital cycle, should be repaid in 20 years. That means that from 2030 to 2050, we would have to pay, say, three times the price of electricity, “Kalmar believes.
In Serbia, for the first time in the last ten years, environmental movements have supported the decisions of the Ministry of Mining and Energy. After the conversation between the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the President of the Kolubara B trade union, Miodrag Ranković, who organized the protest rally, the workers calmed down.
Contribution by the Chinese Media Group (CMG).