Biomass heating plant in eastern Serbia begins operations

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Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Dubravka Đedović Handanović visited on Wednesday (3 April) a newly constructed biomass heating plant in Majdanpek (eastern Serbia).

“We are phasing out fuel oil with this heating plant in Majdanpek, sulfur dioxide emissions will be completely eliminated, and carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 93 per cent. We completed this project in record time. A few months ago, I was here when there was nothing on the ground, and now we see a built heating plant, a substation, and installed equipment,” said Minister Đedović Handanović.

Handanović added that Majdanpek is the fourth local self-government in Serbia where a biomass heating plant has been built through the ministry’s programme with the German development bank KfW and the donation of the Swiss Confederation.

Prior to Majdanpek, new biomass heating plants were built in Mali Zvornik, Priboj, and Novi Pazar, with a total of 26.75 million euros invested in all four local self-governments. “By completing these heating plants, we are addressing the decades-long problem of air pollution, the use of fossil fuels, by switching to renewable energy sources such as biomass,” the minister said. She added that the total investment value in Majdanpek is 5.5 million euros and that the heating plant works were completed a month ago, before the contracted deadline.

The minister pointed out that the continuation of cooperation with KfW Bank has been agreed upon in the second phase of this programme, worth 32 million euros. “So far, six cities and municipalities have confirmed their interest in participating in the programme – Prijepolje, Bajina Bašta, Niš, Rača, Novi Pazar, Majdanpek, which will contribute to further reducing harmful gas emissions, as well as network losses. We are already preparing these projects and will start their implementation next year,” said Minister Đedović Handanović.

The minister reminded that for more sustainable savings, the state has provided funds to support citizens in reducing consumption in their households by replacing doors and windows, improving insulation, replacing boilers, or installing solar panels.

“About 560 people applied for last year’s public call, so the municipality allocated a larger amount of subsidies than prescribed by the programme. We expect all registered citizens to receive subsidies, and those who have not managed to apply will be able to do so this year, during the summer when a new public call will be announced,” concluded the minister.

Dragan Popović, the mayor of Majdanpek, said that thanks to the new biomass heating plant, Majdanpek is becoming an environmentally clean place since fuel oil will no longer be used in district heating.

“With the construction of the new biomass heating plant in Majdanpek, everything changes considering that we had problems with heating and fuel oil which was difficult to procure in the previous period. Majdanpek is a municipality that is more than 70 per cent forested, and it was logical for us to decide to use wood chips for heating, thanks to which we eliminate pollution and reduce costs by 50 per cent,” said Mr Popović.

He added that heating in Mandapek is stable 24 hours a day and that the district heating network will be reconstructed in the next period.

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