European utilities RWE, Elektroprivreda Srbije sign MOU for hydroelectric development

European utility RWE and Serbian utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will create around 920 MW of hydroelectric capacity along the Drina and Danube rivers, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The declaration of intent -- signed by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vucic and RWE AG Chief Executive Officer Peter Terium in the presence of German Economics Minister Philipp Rosler -- calls for the "further development and enhancement of existing energy generation plants in the Serbian republic as well as planning, construction and operation of new power plants."

"I am delighted with today's signing of this memorandum between RWE and EPS," Vucic says. "It is the beginning of a wider strategic partnership that includes important energy generation projects in our country.

"Hydropower in particular offers great opportunities for cooperation."

The memorandum proposes a nine-month review phase to make a full technical and economic assessment of Serbia's existing power plants, after which a collaborative agreement will specify details of the projects to be undertaken and the responsibilities of each partner.

"Our focus lies on maximization of existing run-of-river hydropower plants in Serbia," says Hans Bunting, CEO of RWE Innogy. "By adopting targeted measures and streamlined business management practices, we will be able to enhance the efficiency of these plants. In addition, we plan to extend the use of hydropower there even further."

HydroWorld.com reported in June 2011 that RWE Innogy and Elektroprivreda Srbije had entered into a joint venture for the development of five small run-of-river plants on the Morava River.

Feasibility studies are still being conducted, but RWE says construction on the projects could begin in 2014. The company also says the projects are included in the latest memorandum as a matter of "long-term strategic collaboration."

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