Energy independence, stability, and efficiency, European environmental standards, capital investments – all these are the benefits that Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) should have had with the construction of Block 7 in Tuzla. At least that is what Elektroprivreda BiH announced. However, two years after the start of preparatory work on the construction, the statements of the President of China shocked everyone.
Namely, the Chinese president said that his country will stop supporting the construction of new coal-fired power plants abroad. It practically means that Elektroprivreda BiH is left without the main partner for the construction of Block 7 in Tuzla.
“I would like to start with a saying that was introduced to us in Slovenia by a lecturer from Brussels. He said: new coal-fired power plants are not the best thing in the world, old thermal power plants are a much worse thing, and the worst thing is that you have no energy, that is, electricity, ” this is what Fadil Novalic, Prime Minister of the Federation of BiH, was sayingwhen defending the Block 7 project from the European Union(EU) and European Energy Community.
That generational project, as described by Elektroprivreda, couldstay unrealized. If the Chinese consortium withdraws from the project, the consequences will be catastrophic. Concerns are growing in Tuzla Canton (TC), and the cantonal government sent an open letter to Elektroprivreda last month, to which they have not yet received a response.
“Not only the supply of electricity is being questioned, not only the supply of thermal energy, the winter is coming, the employment of people is being questioned. This is not a political problem, we can only together solve a problem that is extremely serious for our canton, ” pointed out Kadrija Hodzic, Prime Minister of TC.
Even though Elektroprivreda did not answer the Government of TC, they gave a response to the inquiry of N1 television. In a brief statement, they explained that the concluded construction loan agreements are still valid.
“Public Utility Elektroprivreda BiH expects a final statement on how much the new policy of the People’s Republic of China regarding the construction of thermal power plants will affect the Block 7 project,” it was stated from this company.
On the other hand, there is no final statement yet. From the Chinese embassy, there is no answer after the appearance of the President of China at the United Nations (UN). When the decision is known, the Federal Ministry of Energy announces that the Federation Parliament will give its final consent for further steps.
“If this decision is as we heard from the media, then we should sit down and think about the directions to stop this project in a regular, legal way and the only right way,” said Nermin Dzindic, Minister of Energy, Mining, and Industry of Federation of BiH(FBiH).
The consequences of the interruption of the construction of Block 7 cannot be explained, according to the Government of TC, as well as the Trade Union of Miners of FBiH. More than 18 million BAM were spent just on preparatory works. Earlier, Elektroprivreda explained that the construction is of crucial importance for energy security, but also for the survival of the mine.
“Mining workers have seen in the last two months that they are not dealing with reliable and serious social partners from both the Elektroprivreda and the FBiH Government. Young people are leaving the mines because they do not trust those who manage the systems, ” added Sinan Husic, president of the FBIH Miners’ Union.
The Trade Union believes that Block 7 could have been completed a few years ago if the political elite had shown responsibility. The construction contract was signed in 2014, and only five years later the preparatory work began. In 2024, a 450-megawatt power unit was supposed to be built here. The bloc that was supposed to mean energy independence is now largely put in question, N1 writes.