A consortium led by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company and one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, has today inaugurated Čibuk 1, the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in Serbia and the Western Balkans.
The inauguration of the €300 million project was attended by His Excellency Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Serbia, His Excellency Aleksandar Antić, Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy, and other high-level government officials from both Serbia and the United Arab Emirates, including His Excellency Dr Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to Serbia, and Khaled Al Qubaisi, CEO of Aerospace, Renewables & ICT for Mubadala.
Built over a 37-square-kilometre site, 50km from the capital, Belgrade, Čibuk 1 comprises of 57GE Renewable Energy’s 2.75-125 onshore wind turbines. With a capacity of 158 megawatts (MW), the wind farm will provide sustainable, emissions-free power to 113,000 homes and displace more than 370,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. That is the same amount of carbon sequestered by more than 6 million trees.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi said: “Through its compelling business case, renewable energy has established itself as the new power generation technology of choice. With an investment of US$309 billion, 2018 saw the addition of 171GW to the global renewable energy generation capacity. The rise in the uptake of renewables is driven by its increasing cost efficiency as well as growing calls for sustainability around the world. We are proud to share that the UAE’s renewable energy projects that are operational and underway have a combined capacity of 11.4GW, including 8.4GW within the country and 3GW abroad.”
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi commended Masdar for its dedication to building a renewables-powered future in the UAE and further afield.
Commenting on the launch, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, said: “Today’s inauguration of Čibuk 1 further strengthens the UAE’s partnership and cooperation with Serbia and its government. Since Masdar’s establishment more than a decade ago, its mission has been to advance the clean energy sector and to provide sustainable, innovative solutions to the world’s energy needs. Today, that vision is being realized through projects such as Čibuk 1, the biggest wind farm in the Western Balkans.”
Čibuk 1, which was awarded Deal of the Year at the Central Eastern Legal Awards 2018 and won the 2019 European Onshore Wind Energy Deal of the Year at the IJGlobal European Awards, was developed by Vetroelektrane Balkana (WEBG), a Serbian company which is wholly owned by Tesla Wind, a joint venture between Masdar (60%), the Taaleri SolarWind I fund, managed by Finnish renewable energy infrastructure fund manager and developer Taaleri Energia (30%), and German development finance institution DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (10%).
Mohamed Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “In collaboration with the Government of Serbia, our fellow shareholders in Tesla Wind, the lenders, contractors and our many other partners, Masdar is proud to successfully deliver the largest utility-scale commercial wind project in the Western Balkans.”
“Čibuk 1 is not only a bold statement as to Serbia’s long-term renewable energy ambitions and its commitment to modernise its power sector, but also an investment in Serbia’s energy security.Together, we have delivered a truly outstanding project, a marvel of engineering that has created jobs and delivered lasting improvements in infrastructure. More than that, we have invested in the foundation of Serbia’s renewable energy sector, helping to create a legacy that will support the development of future projects.”
Today’s inauguration of Čibuk 1 marks a turning point in the expansion of renewables in Central and Eastern Europe, one of the fastest growing emerging markets for clean energy.
The project supports Serbia’s pledge to produce 27 per cent of its domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2020, while helping to reduce its dependence on coal-fired power generation. Čibuk 1 also created 400 local jobs during construction and delivered 50km of new roads in the surrounding area.
Kai Rintala, Managing Director of Taaleri Energia, commented: “The Taaleri SolarWind I fund invested in the Čibuk 1 wind farm alongside our partners Masdar and DEG, and we are extremely proud of this project. The wind farm was constructed under budget and ahead of schedule and was recognised as the European Onshore Wind Transaction of the Year at the 2018 IJGlobal Awards. Our joint venture with Masdar to develop and source attractive wind and solar investment opportunities in Poland and South East Europe is an indication of our continued commitment to the region.”
Turan Caglayan, DEG’s Senior Director for Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and Asia, said: "Financing for renewable energy is one of the areas that DEG focuses on. We are happy to support, together with our trusted partners, Čibuk I as a groundbreaking investment which will contribute to more sustainable and diversified power generation in Serbia. Together with the associated infrastructure expansion and local community programmes, the wind farm will not only contribute to the economic growth in Serbia but will also have a positive impact on the economic development in the region.”
Peter Wells, CEO of GE’s Onshore Wind Business in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “We are delighted to see the Čibuk 1 wind farm inaugurated today. This project has given us the opportunity to showcase our engineering, procurement and construction expertise and is adding to our well-established partnership with Serbia. I am proud to see us contributing significantly to Serbia’s renewable energy goals and want to congratulate the entire team for making this project a success.”
In August, Masdar established a joint venture in Serbia with Taaleri Energia, Masdar Taaleri Generation (MTG), with the aim of developing renewable energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
Čibuk 1 is Masdar’s fifth wind farm in Europe after the 630MW London Array, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in operation, the 402MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm in England, and Hywind Scotland, a 30MW floating wind power development situated near the coast of Aberdeenshire. Masdar is also a partner in the 72MW Krnovo wind energy project in Montenegro.
In January this year at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, EDF Renewables and Masdar announced their selection to develop the Middle East’s largest wind farm, the 400MW Dumat Al Jandal project in Saudi Arabia.