Kosovo C power station
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Kosovo and coal|
Coal companies, utilities and agencies in Kosovo
Existing coal-fired power stations in Kosovo
Proposed coal-fired power station in Kosovo
Coal mines in Kosovo
New Kosovo power station, also known as Kosovo C or Kosova e Re power station, is a proposed 500-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Kosovo.
The map below shows Pristina, the approximate location where the plant would be built.
Background on Plant
The New Kosovo power plant is part of the government's plans to reform Kosovo's energy sector. Other plans include closing Kosovo A power station by 2017, rehabilitating Kosovo B power station to meet EU standards, and privatizing the country's electricity distribution system. Plans for New Kosovo also include a lignite coal mine, the Sibovc SW. The World Bank is the main sponsor providing funding for energy sector reforms in Kosovo, including New Kosovo.
The plan to build a new coal plant close to the capital Prishtina has been proposed since the early 2000s. The original proposal was a 2000 MW unit that would export energy, but plans faded due to lack of investors. New Kosovo was later planned to have a capacity of 600 MW, and has been promoted by the US government through the World Bank, which is interested in supporting the project. After Kosovo became a member of the EBRD in December 2012, the bank declared its interest in potentially financing the new plant in its first Kosovo Country Strategy.
On November 23, 2015, Kosovo’s minister of economic development, Blerand Stavileci, announced the latest version of the plant. The new design reduces the size of the plant from 600MW to one 500MW unit. The plant is planned for operation in 2023.
In December 2017 Kosovo authorities signed a contract with US company Contour Global to build the 500 MW unit, at a cost of 1.3 billion euros. Construction is planned to start in late 2018 or early 2019.
In April 2018 ContourGlobal stated that it was seeking to attract a partner for up to a 49 per cent take in the project by the end of 2018 or early 2019. ContourGlobal CEO Joseph Brandt told Reuters that he was confident of securing financing for the project. In its 2018 annual report, the company stated that "financial close and start of construction is expected late 2018/early 2019."
In early June 2018 the World Bank said it was reassessing its support for the plant - the only coal power plant project left on its books. The Bank said it was finalising work on a study of the country’s options for rebuilding its power sector, with consideration of the the declining costs of renewables.
In mid-June 2018, ContourGlobal invited tenders for construction, although Kosovo's Energy Secretariat is examining whether elements of the power purchase agreement with ContourGlobal meet the country's requirements that electricity markets be open to competition and non-distorted.
In October 2018 World Bank President Jim Kim said the institution will not move forward with a plan to financially support the Kosovo C coal plant: "we’re required by our bylaws to go with the lowest-cost option, and renewables have now come below the cost of coal. So without question, we’re not going to do that,” Kim said. Activists said the Bank should help the country fund clean energy. In November 2018 the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) draft strategy ruled out support for coal, including the the Kosovo coal plant.
In May 2019 ContourGlobal said it had chosen a consortium of General Electric subsidiaries to build Kosovo C. The other bidders for the project were China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), South Korea’s Hyundai, and a consortium of Turkey’s ENKA, Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas. Construction of the plant is expected to start in late 2019. The project is valued at $1.3 billion, with financing expected to come from a mix of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and export credit agencies, ContourGlobal’s CEO said in October 2018, after the World Bank said it would not finance the plant.
In March 2020 ContourGlobal announced that it was halting its plans to build Kosovo C and, moreover, that it would be making no further coal plant investments. A statement from the company said: "As a result of the political situation in Kosovo ... our development project is incapable of reaching its milestones prior to the required project completion date". Dajana Berisha of the Kosovan NGO KOSID which has challenged the Kosovo C plans for many years said: "This is ultimately proof that the vision and strategy of KOSID, supported by the mobilisation of citizens, media investigations and the exposure of injustices on an international level, has opened new paths for sustainable development in Kosovo." A CEE Bankwatch Network blog on the decision from CounterGlobal noted that: "This is excellent news for Kosovo, as it not only frees up resources to concentrate on much-needed energy efficiency, solar and wind investments, but it will also save the country an enormous amount of money."
Plans to update Kosovo's power system began in the early 2000s and originally envisioned a 2,000-MW lignite plant that would allow the country to export energy to its neighbors. Political and investment setbacks caused the plant to be scaled back in size.
A 2010 EU report stated that plans for the development of a new Kosovo power plant (using lignite coal) had been reconfigured: "The initial installed capacity will be two units of 200-300 MW, the Sibovc lignite field will be developed immediately and participation in the Kosovo B power plant will be included in the package to be offered to investors with a view to refurbishment. The legal unbundling of the distribution and supply functions of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK) is due at the end of 2010 with a view to privatization. Until completion of the new Kosovo power plant project, the other functions will remain integrated in KEK."
A five-part U.S. State Department strategy for Kosovo obtained by ClimateWire suggested closing Kosovo A, rehabilitating Kosovo B to meet E.U. standards, developing a new 600-MW lignite-fired power plant, and privatizing the country's electricity distribution system.
Role of World Bank
The World Bank is considering supporting the Lignite Power Technical Assistance Project with a World Bank grant of US$10.5 million and a European Commission grant of Euros 2 million, as well as providing "advisory services" for the inclusion of private capital in the new lignite mine and power plant.
In a July 2011 statement to ClimateWire, a World Bank spokesman said the institution had not taken a decision on financing Kosovo B, and that an independent panel of experts was being tasked to determine if the project meets the bank's coal guidelines. The World Bank asked for and received written support from the Obama Administration for the World Bank to approve the loan for the new coal plant and privatize the country's electricity distribution system.
In January 2012 a World Bank analysis concluded that building a lignite coal plant in Kosovo could cost nearly twice as much money as previously estimated.
The study also acknowledged about 400 megawatts of hydro, wind and other clean energy capacity in Kosovo -- something the World Bank had previously dismissed as virtually non-existent. Yet despite newly recognized financial challenges to coal and the existence of cleaner alternatives, the World Bank ultimately concluded that a new 600 MW coal power station remained the "best and cheapest option" for replacing Kosovo's long-neglected power plants and establishing reliable power supply in the country.
Lignite coal lies underneath Hade’s rolling hillsides. Hade lies nine miles outside Pristina. Its coal deposits has made Hade a target as KEK has expanded its mining operations and Kosovo and World Bank officials have planned for the nearby Kosovo C. As of June 2015, the government’s push to clear the village has forced about 1,000 Hade residents from their homes. Thousands more fear displacement. In a complaint filed June 12, 2015, with the World Bank’s internal watchdog, the villagers’ representatives claim the bank has violated its rules governing “involuntary resettlement.” They say the bank allowed the government of Kosovo to take their homes and farmland without fair compensation and without an adequate plan for resettling them.
Environmental groups have also urged the World Bank to allow Dan Kammen, the bank's chief technical specialist for renewable energy, to do a special assessment of Kosovo's options. Kammen did an assessment in Malaysia, which then canceled a proposed coal-fired power plant in favor of alternative energy options. There is a standoff among members of the World Bank's board of directors over a proposal to eliminate coal financing for all middle-income countries. The Obama administration and World Bank officials argue that under the proposed energy strategy, coal lending is permitted for the poorest countries, and Kosovo fits into that category. Environmentalists argue that while the coal plant might meet the letter of the energy strategy, it does not meet the spirit of it, which is to develop cleaner energy sources for developing nations.
Following a World Bank report released in January 2012 that supported the construction the proposed coal-fired power plant in Kosovo, environmental groups maintained that entrenched support for the coal project within the US State Department had obscured thinking about new, cleaner possibilities. The Sierra Club and others argued that the World Bank's analysis showed no near-term need for additional baseload capacity and noted that analysts had not actually calculated all of the costs involved in the plant or addressed Kosovo's needs for peaking power.
Estimated cost of electricity
The Sierra Club analyzed the “Terms of Reference” provided to the Kosovo Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change Expert Panel on whether the proposed plant meets World Bank policy and determined that it does not, as "the cost of electricity that would be provided by the Kosovo plant is grossly underestimated" because "the predicted cost of electricity is based on the assumption that all four surviving Kosovo units will operate 85 per cent of the time" yet "overall demand would [likely] be 20 percent, not 85 percent, thus tripling the cost of generation for this plant." The report concluded that the plant will likely cost 2-3 times what project proponents claim, and that the country does not have enough base load demand to justify such a large power project.
In 2016 a report by IEEFA on the costs if the proposed plant is built found that:
- The average Kosovar household would pay 12.9 percent of its annual income for electricity, twice what most European households pay;
- Low- to middle-income household in Kosovo would pay 18 percent of its annual income for electricity;
- Very low-income households would pay 39.7 percent of their income for electricity; and
- Retail electricity costs would increase by 33 to 50 percent.
Environmental Assessment and Bids
An environmental impact assessment is expected to be ready in draft form early 2015, and a board vote on World Bank funding could come by Fall 2015.
In 2014 ContourGlobal, a New York-based international power generation company, submitted the only bid for the Kosovo C project. A 2014 WB memo obtained by ClimateWire stated that U.S. agencies such as the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. "may be an option with a U.S. bidder, but would need some political softening in Washington" to provide additional funds for the project.
ContourGlobal said it may start building the plant by 2016. As of February 2015 the cost of the project is estimated at up to US$1.6 billion, with a third to be financed by ContourGlobal and the remainder via loans. The plant is planned to go online in 2021.
On November 23, 2015, Kosovo’s minister of economic development, Blerand Stavileci, announced the latest version of the plant. The announcement came in the form of oral remarks. The new design reduces the size of the plant from 600MW to 500MW and is subject to further negotiations. On December 18, 2015, the government of Kosovo, led by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, announced the signing of a Memorandum of understanding for the project with ContourGlobal. Proposed financing includes a 30 percent equity contribution from ContourGlobal with the remaining 70 percent of financing from outside sources. The final terms of both ContourGlobal’s equity participation and loans from the World Bank and any other lenders are under discussion. The economic development minister states that the technical documents will be completed in the next several months and that construction is to start in late 2016 or early 2017 and will take four to five years to complete.
- Sponsor: Contour Global LLC
- Parent company: KEK
- Location: Pristina, Kosovo
- Coordinates: 42.666667, 21.166667 (approximate)
- Status: Cancelled (called off by project sponsor in March 2020)
- Capacity: 500 MW
- Type: Ultra-supercritical
- Start date:
- Coal Type: Lignite
- Coal Source: Sibovc SW coal mine
- Source of financing:
Resources and articles
- "Kosovo C coal power plant," Banktrack, updated May 12, 2014.
- "Western Balkans: 'cheap' lignite plants built now will cost heavily later," Bankwatch, April 2014.
- Sanzillo, Tom and David Schlissel,"The Proposed New Kosovo Power Plant: An Unnecessary Burden at an Unreasonable Price," Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, pp.3-4, January 2016
- "Energy Strategy of the Republic of Kosovo 2017 - 2026," Kosovo government, March 2017, p 34
- "Kosovo signs contract to build new power plant," Gazeta Express, 20 December 2017
- Susanna Twidale, "ContourGlobal seeking equity partner for new Kosovo coal plant", Reuters, April 5, 2018.
- "ContourGlobal - 2017 Preliminary Results Presentation", ContourGlobal, April 5, 2018, page 10.
- "World Bank reconsidering support for its last coal plant," Climate Home, 13/06/2018
- ContourGlobal launches tender to build new Kosovo coal plant Reuters, 21 June 2018
- Energy Community finds distortions of state aid rules regarding Kosova e Re power plant Balkan Green Energy News, 18 June 2018
- Michael Igoe, "World Bank drops support for Kosovo's controversial coal project," Devex, 10 October 2018
- Klaudjo Jonuzaj, "EBRD draft strategy rules out support for Kosovo coal-fired power plant," See News, Nov 14, 2018
- "GE to build Kosovo's new 500 MW coal power plant," Reuters, May 3, 2019
- "ContourGlobal halts plans to build Kosovo coal plant," Reuters, Mar. 17, 2020
- "Construction of Coal-Fired Power Plant in Kosovo Halted," Balkan Insight, Mar. 17, 2020
- "ContourGlobal finally quits Kosova e Re coal plant," CEE Bankwatch Network, Mar. 17, 2020
- "EU report 2010" Energy Community, EU Report 2010.
- Cleaning Up Kosovo’s Dangerous ‘Black Spot’, World Bank, accessed May 13, 2011
- "U.S. on Both Sides of New Battle Over Assistance to 'Ugly' Coal-Fired Power Plant" NY Times, July 11, 2011.
- "World Bank Studies Coal-Fired Power Plant for Kosovo" Lisa Friedman, EENews, January 17, 2012.
- Michael Hudson, "Refugees Of Development: Kosovars Who Rebuilt War-Torn Village Face New Threat As World Bank Considers Coal-Burning Power Plant," HuffPo, June 19, 2015
- Lisa Friedman, "U.S. team at World Bank pushes for Kosovo coal plant," E&E, January 30, 2015
- Bruce C. Buckheit, "A Review of World Bank Group Cost Estimates For New Lignite-fired Plants in Kosovo" Sierra Club report, Oct. 2011.
- "ContourGlobal could start building Kosovo power plant in 2016," Reuters, Feb 4, 2015
- Sanzillo, Tom and David Schlissel (2016): "The Proposed New Kosovo Power Plant: An Unneccessary Burden at an Unreasonable Price." Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, pp.3-4. Accessed 12 January 2016.