Serbia’s Coal Reserves Are Not Enough for the Winter

Electricity production in Serbia has reached a critical point and supply for the coming winter is uncertain, according to Dragoslav Ljubičić of the energy and mining branch of the Nezavisnost union. “There is no hope: anyone who is optimistic about electricity in winter will be reassured by this video. There is no coal,” Dragoslav Ljubičić wrote on Twitter. To support his claim, he added a video of the coal stockpile of TENT A, the largest thermal power plant in Serbia, where he has worked since the early 1990s.

Electricity generation in the country has reached “a critical level” and supply for next winter is uncertain, Ljubičić said. He is a high-ranking member of the Nezavisnost union’s energy and mining branch. He cited delays in the last four or five years in removing layers of soil on top of the coal, as well as “the dire hydrological situation.”

A combination of delays in opencast coal mine operations and a sharp drop in water flow in the hydroelectric system jeopardizes power generation in Serbia

That is, the flow of water in Serbia’s hydroelectric system has been halved, which has increased the need to import electricity. However, the volumes in the reservoirs are also low throughout Europe.

“To top it off, with its decisions to modify the positive decisions regarding the persecution of shift workers (in production), the judiciary (Supreme Court of Cassation) further reduces the preparation of establishments by completely eroding the labor discipline and discipline in a technical aspect and technological sense. It is an imminent cataclysm”, stressed Ljubičić.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said last week that the country had 813,000 tons of coal in storage at the time. He warned that consumption reached 115,000 tons per day in winter, but also said he hoped that the available amount of solid fuel will increase to a level capable of covering the needs of thermal power plants for 40 days.

The price of electricity has “skyrocketed”, Vučić noted. “It will have catastrophic consequences for us during the winter,” he said, adding that negotiations with Bulgaria and Romania to buy coal and use river barges to transport it have failed “for various excuses.”

“We continue to buy where we can, what we can,” revealed the president. Coal and electricity producer Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) and gas company Srbijagas, both controlled by the government, are in “bad shape”, he acknowledged. “But the Serbian state is in a good state overall. We are buying that as a state,” Vučić said.