Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) has successfully completed a substantial upgrade of its Đerdap 1 hydropower plant, situated along the Danube River. The project, which adds 100 MW of capacity, marks a significant stride in enhancing the country's hydropower capabilities.
The Đerdap 1 powerhouse is home to six turbine-generator units, each of which has undergone an upgrade, increasing their capacity from 171 MW to an impressive 190 MW. This collective enhancement has culminated in a substantial overall capacity boost, now totaling 1,140 MW.
Đerdap 1 stands as the largest hydropower plant within the EPS system and plays a pivotal role in contributing approximately half of the total electricity generated by the company's hydropower plant sector. Notably, the extensive refurbishment of Đerdap 1 was a collaborative effort, with technical teams from EPS, experts from local scientific institutions, and the Russian company Silovije mašini pooling their expertise.
Unit A3, a stalwart of the facility in operation for over 51 years, was halted on September 1, 2022. One of the most substantial components replaced in this endeavor was the rotor of the main generator, a colossal piece weighing 610 tons and measuring 14.15 meters in diameter.
Acceptance tests are presently underway, with power system synchronization and connection anticipated by mid-November, ensuring that this upgraded facility can seamlessly integrate into Serbia's energy grid.
The primary equipment supplier for this remarkable project is the Russian company Silovije mašini, hailing from Saint Petersburg. Furthermore, a portion of the equipment underwent refurbishment within local factories, emphasizing the project's contribution to regional industry.
The scale of this undertaking becomes evident when considering that 1,300 tons of rotating equipment and 950 tons of static equipment were disassembled and revamped. The project was executed by a consortium of contractors, including workers from Đerdap 1 HPP, Goša montaža, Đerdap usluge, ATB Sever from Subotica, Jadran, Kolubara Metal, and experts from the Nikola Tesla and Mihajlo Pupin institutes. The integrity of metal components was ensured by the Materials Testing Institute from Belgrade.
Commenting on the successful completion of the project, Dušan Živković, the acting general manager of EPS, expressed his pride in Đerdap 1, emphasizing its enduring significance in Serbia's hydropower industry. He noted, “Đerdap 1 has been the pride of our hydropower industry for more than five decades, and after successful refurbishment, it will certainly be so for the coming 30 to 40 years. We got increased capacity, less scope of maintenance, and decades of reliability.”
Moreover, Živković revealed that EPS is committed to continuing its hydropower plant refurbishments, with the most substantial projects focusing on the modernization of the Vlasina, Bistrica, Potpeć, and Đerdap 2 hydropower plants. Notably, these efforts have garnered recognition from the European Union, which awarded EPS a €49 million ($51.8 million) grant through the Western Balkan Investments Framework (WBIF) to finance four projects. A significant portion of this funding, €16.1 million ($17 million), is earmarked for the refurbishment of the Vlasina hydropower plants, underlining the commitment to advancing sustainable energy in the region.