SARAJEVO, May 30 (Reuters) - The China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) is interested in taking part in building a 300 megawatt unit at Bosnia’s Kakanj coal-fired plant, Bosnia’s top utility EPBiH JPES.SJ said on Monday.
The CNEEC has won the Chinese government and banks’ support to finance the project, which is part of a 10-billion Bosnian marka ($7.3 billion) Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation government investment plan for the power sector by 2018, EPBIH said in a statement after meeting CNEEC officials.
Construction of the new unit at the Kakanj thermal power plant is planned in mid-2013 at an estimated cost of more than 800 million marka, the Sarajevo-based EPBiH said.
The CNEEC also inquired about construction of a 450 MW unit at the coal-fired plant Tuzla in northern Bosnia, for which Swiss energy firm Alpiq (ALPH.S) has bid to become a strategic investor, it added.
Chinese investors are increasingly targeting energy projects in the Balkans, boosting their presence and showing a willingness to take bigger risks than European rivals on a potentially lucrative market with links to the Europan Union.
The China Development Bank in December expressed interest in financing a series of energy projects, including new coal-fired plant units at Bosnia’s ageing communist-era plants, hydro power plants and wind parks.
The new plants and upgrades of existing ones aim to avert power shortages stemming from overhauls of major power plants and would provide for energy independence in Bosnia, which is the sole electricity exporter in the emerging Balkans. (&1=1.37 Bosnian marka) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by James Jukwey)