Kostolac power station

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Kostolac power station comprises the 310-megawatt (MW) Kostolac A plant and the 700 MW Kostolac B plant in Branićevo, Serbia.


The undated satellite photo below shows the power station, near the remains of the Roman town of Viminacium in Stari Kostolac.

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Background on existing power station

Kostolac A consists of one 100 MW unit and one 210 MW unit, commissioned in 1967 and 1980, respectively. Kostolac B comprises two 350 MW units, B1 and B2, commissioned in 1987 and 1991.[1]

Coal source

An Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS0 subsidiary, OPM Kostolac, currently operates three open-pit mines -- the Drmno mine, the Cirikovac mine and the Klenovnik mine -- which supply the Kostolac A and B power plants.[2]

Plant upgrade

In February 2010 EPS and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) signed a $US1.25 preliminary contract for the redevelopment of the Kostolac Power Plant and the construction of a new 350 MW unit, called block B3. Under the terms of the preliminary contract CMEC will contribute 85% of the cost of the refurbishment of the plant and the installation of sulphur controls. Xinhua News Agency also reported that the project would include expanding the capacity of the Drmno mine to 12 million tons of lignite per year and "the construction of the new block B3, by the turnkey system."[3]

In January 2012, the Export-Import Bank of China approved a US$344 million loan to cover CMEC's 85% portion of construction costs. Of the debt, US$176.31 million will be used for the existing blocks Kostolac B1 and B2; US$130.5 million for the construction of the desulphurisation plant; US$15.86 million for port access on the Danube River; and US$21.96 million for railway infrastructure upgrade.[4]

In 2013 it was reported that construction on the new 350 MW unit at Kostolac would begin the following year, with an estimated completion date of 2019.[5]

In late June 2016, the Serbian Administrative Court ruled the approval of the plant's environmental impact statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection was illegitimate. According to the ruling, the decision did not contain justification of reasons for not taking the cross-border impact of the new plant on neighboring Romania into account. Serbia might also face a challenge over whether financial guarantees given to the China Export-Import Bank breach restrictions on subsidies.[6]

Although it was reported in Reuters in January 2017 that construction had begun on the project,[7] the new environmental impact assessment for the coal plant has yet to be completed, although a new conveyor system does seem to be being put in place.[8]

A new EIA report was published for consultation in February 2017. Public hearings are planned for March 2017.[9] The EIA report was approved in September 2017.[10]

On November 23, 2017, the Serbian government announced for the third time that construction would begin on the unit, now planned for operation in 2020.[11] In response, environmental groups requested the building permit. According to Bankwatch, the only document disclosed was a permit for the B3 chimney (not for the whole plant) and was dated July 2017, before the environmental assessment was approved.[12]

As of November 29, 2017, the plant's EIA is being challenged in court, and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control permit has not been issued, although it may be issued after construction.[13] The Drmno coal mine is also being challenged. According to the NGO Bankwatch: "There have been no environmental and social impact assessments of expanding the Drmno mine that will feed the power plant, and the local community’s request to be relocated from the mine borders has not been taken into account. The project is also not in line with the latest pollution standards adopted this year by the EU."[14] In September 2018, the Centre for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR) and CEE Bankwatch Network submitted a formal complaint to the Energy Community Treaty Secretariat, saying the country had failed to require an environmental impact assessment for the expansion of the Drmno mine that would feed the plant.[15]

In April 2019 a construction permit was issued for the turbine and generator.[16][17] According to Elektroprivreda Srbije, 85% of the needed construction permits have been secured.[18]

In March 2021, with construction work by CMEC under way and scheduled for completion towards the end of 2022, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, Professor Zorana Mihajlovic, met with representatives of the company to warn them about the project's slow pace of construction as well as the quality of the delivered equipment. An announcement on the Ministry of Mining and Energy website quoted Mihajlovic as saying: "The current dynamics and delays with Kostolac B3 project do not benefit anyone. Serbian side is here, we will not stand by and observe the realization of the project, we will work even harder to help you, but you have to invest more effort and work, to make up for the delays, because the realization so far is unacceptable, and there is no compromise on quality."[19]

Planet imagery captured between March 2019 and July 2022 showed evidence of some construction progress.

Financing for B3

In December 2014, it was reported that China's Exim Bank would finance the new 350-MW unit[20] through a US$572 million loan.[21] The Government of Serbia will provide US$143 million in equity.[21] In January 2015, the agreement was ratified by the Serbian parliament.[22]

Project Details of proposed power plant

  • Sponsor: Elektroprivreda Srbije
  • Parent company:
  • Developer: China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC)
  • Location: Kostolac, Branićevo, Serbia
  • Coordinates: 44.72954, 21.212146 (exact)
  • Status: Construction
  • Capacity: 350 MW
  • Type: Supercritical
  • Start date:
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source: Drmno mine
  • Source of financing: US$572 million in debt from China Exim Bank; US$143 million in equity from the Government of Serbia[21]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Coal-Fired Plants in Serbia," Industcards, accessed April 2016
  2. Elektroprivreda Srbije, "About Us: Basic Data: Facilities for coal production, processing and transport OPM "Kostolac"", Elektroprivreda Srbije website, accessed July 2011.
  3. "China, Serbia sign preliminary contract on power station cooperation", Xinhua News Agency, February 4, 2010.
  4. China Exim approves Serbia thermal loan, IJGlobal, Jan. 4, 2012
  5. "Serbia: construction of a new thermal power plant will begin in Kostolac," Balkans.com, Nov 22, 2013.
  6. "Kostolac: Chinese loan, Serb rule-breaking," CINS, July 21, 2016
  7. "Balkan push for new coal-fired plants raises concern," Reuters, Jan 23, 2017
  8. Conversation with CAN Europe, Jan 24, 2017
  9. "Javna rasprava o izgradnji TE „Kostolac B3” početkom marta," Energetski Portal, Feb 13, 2017
  10. EIA Decision, Government of Serbia, Sep 28, 2017
  11. "Chinese company starts construction of Serbian coal-fired power plant," Reuters, Nov 20, 2017
  12. "Chinese-financed coal projects in Europe," Bankwatch, December 10, 2019
  13. Personal communication with Bankwatch, Nov 29, 2017
  14. "Serbia pushes ahead with beleaguered coal plant at Kostolac," Bankwatch, 20 November 2017
  15. "Serbia is mining away a green future," Bankwatch, Sep 10, 2018
  16. "Serbia: TPP Kostolac unit B3 obtained its seventh construction permit," News Serbia Energy, 18 April 2019
  17. "Sedma po redu dozvola za novu termoelektranu u Kostolcu," Danas, April 16, 2019
  18. "Kostolac: Za termoblok B3 dosad stiglo osam dozvola," Novosti, September 05, 2019
  19. "Mihajlovic to the Chinese company CMEC: Unacceptable dynamics of works on the project of TPP Kostolac B3," Serbian Ministry of Mining and Energy, Mar. 18, 2021
  20. "Serbia signs funding deal with China's Ex-Im Bank on TPP project" Powermarket.seenews.com, December 17, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Preview of Kostolac B3 Thermal Power Plant (350MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-09-22.
  22. "[Campaign update] Kostolac B3 lignite plant loan agreement bypasses public debate and contains unacceptable conditions". Bankwatch. Retrieved 2020-09-22.

Related GEM.wiki articles

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Background information