“Serbia is not ready for green energy projects yet”, President of Germany-based NRG Group Dieter Weiss was a quoted few months ago.
Now, the media are reporting that NRG Group has decided against investing in building a biomass power / heating plant in Sombor, as a public-private partnership project worth about 25 million euro.
Dragan Knezevic, one of the representatives of the Bioenergana Company, founded by NRG Group in Sombor, has also tried to provide support for the project implementation. He says that although the state authorities gave their consent, local authorities were not able to get involved, and after several years of tension, the investor withdrew.
The German company NRG Group signed a cooperation protocol with Sombor Mayor, Sasa Todorovic. The document was registered at the City Administration office on June 26th, 2015, under the number II-3/11, and included a basic agreement on the implementation of the project by the German company.
Following the signing of the agreement, NRG Group founded a company in Serbia, which was supposed to manage the construction, and agreements were also made with the companies that were ready to deliver the by-products from their fields to Bioenergana. In 2016, the Serbian branch of the NRG Group handed over to the Sombor town authorities a letter of intent and a comprehensive study that included the particulars of the project.
The study (which is the basis for the investment) has shown that organic waste such as straw, corn, grass or by-products from orchards and vegetable gardens are burned rather than used as a renewable raw material for energy production. The project premise was that the bioenergy fuelled plant would use the remnants of crop production, while producers, who were ready to join the project, had a total of close to 5,000 hectares of land in the town’s proximity.
The Bioenergana Company requested from the local authorities a list of locations suitable for the construction of the central plant and to reach an agreement on the quantity of thermal energy that would be delivered to the town’s heating plant.
The aforementioned study analyzes the amount of waste that would be available for use at the plant and concludes that thermal energy produced by the biomass plant would be significantly cheaper than gas used for heating. As for the feed-in tariff, the company would conclude a relevant contract with EPS, the state power company.
However, the local government changed its composition in the meantime, with the new government claiming it has no knowledge of the cooperation protocol or the project.
After almost a year of waiting for the response from the local authorities, the NRG Group decided to withdraw from the project altogether.
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