Let It First Be ”Prvonek”
It is the first in a series of small hydro power plants on the existing water management dams in Serbia. It was worth 1.6 million Euros and all this was financed by the ”Electric Power Industry of Serbia”. It will produce 2.5 to three million kilowatt-hours of electric power annually. The plan of the EPS is to build eight similar hydro power plants, and reconstruct 15, from the loan of the European Investment Bank

By: Milorad Ćirilović

A small hydro power plant on the dam ”Prvonek”, commissioned on April 25, will produce 2.5 to three million kilowatt-hours of electric power annually (with the right to the privileged ”feed in” tariff), from two aggregates, with total installed power of almost one megawatt. This is the fastest and most successfully completed facility of this kind in Serbia. From the idea, in the summer of 2010, conceived in Vranje, through decision of the ”Electric Power Industry of Serbia” to develop preliminary design, finance, procure equipment and hire contractors, to the day of formal commissioning into trial operation, less than year and a half has passed. An unimaginable undertaking for Serbia.
The power plant is currently in the phase of technical acceptance and obtaining operation permit, and trial runs provided expectedly good results. The main design was completed in the spring of 2011, construction works were conducted until the fall of 2011, and the trial run of the power plant began in spring this year.
– ”Prvonek” is the first in a series of small hydro power plants in Serbia on the existing water management dams, as envisaged in the Government Regulation from 2010 – said at the opening ceremony Dragomir Marković, General Manager of the ”Electric Power Industry of Serbia” – The power plant was worth 1.6 million Euros and all this was financed by the EPS. For the construction of other power plants, we are waiting for the loan of the European Investment Bank. They have already approved 45 million Euros. The EPS is planning to build eight similar small power plants from the funds of this loan, and to reconstruct 15 existing ones...
On partly sunny and partly rainy Wednesday, the new power plant was officially opened by the Advisor to the Prime Minister for Energy, Prof. Dr Petar Škundrić. The mayor of Vranje, Miroljub Stojčić, expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to the construction of ”Prvonek”, working in difficult conditions:
– This small hydro power plant means a lot to the citizens of Vranje. I want EPS to continue building such plants in other municipalities in Serbia, by applying experiences gained in the construction of ”Prvonek”.
From two aggregates (with installed power of 800 and 110 kilowatt-hours, with installed throughput of 1,200 and 250 liters per second), electric power can be supplied to several hundred households.


Dam ”Prvonek”, on which this small hydro power plant was built, is the most significant facility of the future regional water management system in South Serbia. It is situated on the Banjska River, in the vicinity of Vranje. The dam is earth-filled, over 90 meters high. The dam construction created accumulation of about 20 million cubic meters of water. The main purpose of the dam is water supply, but it also serves as a protection from hazardous effects of the water, as well as for enrichment of smaller waters. The accumulation is managed by Public Company ”Vodovod-Vranje”, which is also the investor for ”Prvonek” dam. For the production of electric power, they will use surplus of water from accumulation, without jeopardizing the main purpose.
”Prvonek” is only the beginning. As if someone wanted to make a pun. Let it first be ”Prvonek” (Prvonek = let it first be). Water, as new wealth for many people in this economically poor area. Water, as the first step in achieving a higher goal: to develop the economy, to have people remain in their homeland. Or to return there. A small hydro power plant is the end of one activity that has immeasurable public significance.
Works on the construction of ”earth-filled dam with clay core”, according to the design of the Institute for Water Management ”Jaroslav Černi”, began in late 1989, and completed 15 difficult years later. Then, in this wild area, a building appeared, rising above the accumulation lake, the ”water mirror” of which today spreads over almost 70 hectares. Sometimes wild and sometimes dried basin of the Banjska River (Banjštica) has been tamed and, through pipelines and water supply system, about 110,000 citizens of this part of South Serbia have received good quality water.
When a guest stops in the middle of the crown of the dam and sees the huge wealth created by human mind, machines and hands, he can only say: Bravo, maestros!


Builders of the Power Plant
The fast and efficient undertaking was completed by:
> JP ”Electric Power Industry of Serbia” – the investor of small power plant ”Prvonek” (investment operations – Directorate for Strategy and Investment).
> Institute for Water Management ”Jaroslav Černi” – technical documentation, consultancy services, professional and designing supervision, inspection of guaranteed characteristics of aggregates.
> Faculty of Civil Engineering of the University in Belgrade – technical control of the main design of Small Hydro Power Plant ”Prvonek”.
> ”Hydro-technique-Hydro-energy” – civil construction works and mounting of a part of hydro-mechanical equipment.
> ”ATB Sever” – delivery of two hydro aggregates, delivery of electrical equipment and related installation works, delivery of technical documentation for the use of equipment, technical support services during mounting and commissioning of the equipment.
> ”Metalac-kompani” – delivery of a part of hydro-mechanical equipment.
> JP ”Vodovod Vranje” – the investor and user of ”Prvonek” Dam.
> The City of Vranje, City Administration, Secretariat for Urbanism and Property-Legal Affairs – in charge of permits.


Creators of the Dam
Construction of ”Prvonek” Dam was financed by the Republic of Serbia (through the MInistry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, i.e. Directorate for Water Management) and the City of Vranje. From the beginning, the holder of investment activities was Public Company ”Vodovod Vranje”. Total value of the investment – 70 million Euros.
Efficient control of the construction was conducted In accordance with strict criteria of the Institute for Water Management ”Jaroslav Černi”, which is the author of the design for the dam.
The following entities participated in or supervised the works: ”Hidrotehnika-hidroenergetika”, ”Geosonda”, Institut IMS, ”Vior - Velika Morava”, all of them from Belgrade, ”Mavrovo” from Skopje, ”Mašinska industrija” from Niš.


The formal trial run commissioning ceremony for small hydro power plant ”Prvonek” (together with the said persons) was also attended by Dušan Mrakić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, Dr Dejan Divac, Director of the Department for Dams of the Institute ”Jaroslav Černi”, representatives of the management of EPS, ”Jugoistok”, ”Electric Power Distribution of Vranje”, local communal companies and representatives of ”ATB Sever” from Subotica, company ”Metalac kompani” from Kuršumlija, ”Andino pauer inženjering” and ”Hidrotehnika-hidroenergetika” from Belgrade.


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