To this regard, small-hydro technology can also play a strategic role, with significant projects in various countries.
In Serbia, for example, surveys conducted in the 80’s had estimated that approximately 1,000 sites could be suitable for the installation of small hydro plants, resulting in a total potential of several hundred MW. This resource began to be boosted following the signature of Memorandum of Understanding foreseeing the construction, by government-run EPS, of 55 small plants in the natural park of Golija (Municipality of Ivanjica), with an investment of € 50 million that have been funded by the World Bank.
Serbian power utility monopoly EPS signed a memorandum of understanding with the municipality of Ivanjica and the Dunav Osiguranje (Dunav Insurance) for the development of 55 small hydropower plants in the Golija nature park. The MoU binds the signing parties to sign a contract within the next six months marking the beginning of the development of these smalll hydro facilities.
Small hydropower potential is abundant in Serbia, due to the hundreds of small to medium sized rivers. In the early eighties, surveys were done which showed potential for about 500 MW of hydropower capacity from small hydropower facilities. Between 800 and 1000 locations were marked as potential sites for small hydropower plants.
The 55 new plants to be developed in the Golija nature park are part of a larger set having 79 potential development locations in the municipality of Ivanjica. Apart from a steady source of clean electricity, these developments represent a good chance for employment for local communities, as well as the engagement of the local manufacturing and supply chain.
The investment value of the proposed small hydropower plants is about EUR 50 million. Financing will mostly be obtained from a loan from the World Bank. The planned small hydropower plants are to be developed over the next few years.
Also Macedonia is showing a similar interest, and the government recently launched a tender for 44 projects to be developed along the rivers Vardar, Strumica and Crn Drim. Once implemented, these facilities will increase the country’s hydropower capacity by28 MW.
Finally, Montenegro completed the pre-selection of participants in a tender for small plants on the Cehotina River, which will reach a production of about 460 million kWh/year. Among the winning companies 15 come from 6 European countries, the rest are local.