SARAJEVO, Aug 24 (Reuters) - The Energy Ministry of Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic said it is in final stages of preparations to call a tender for the construction of Buk Bijela hydro power plant, revising its capacity up by around a third to between 120 and 125 megawatts.
The region’s power utility ERS in 2016 won rights to build and then operate the plant on the Drina river in eastern Bosnia for 50 years and help diversify Bosnia’s energy mix.
The initial value of the project, set to commence this year and take five years to complete, was put at around 193 million euros ($221 million).
Unlike its Balkan neighbours, which rely on imports to cover much of their demand, Bosnia is able to export power thanks partly to its hydro power capacity, which provides 40 percent of its electricity. The rest of its power comes from coal-fired power plants.
ERS operates two coal-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 600 MW and three big and several small hydro power plants with a total capacity of 617 MW.
Several Chinese companies have expressed interest in taking part in the construction and financing of the Buk Bijela project. ($1 = 0.8744 euros) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)