A budget of more than Euro100M (US$148M) has been indicated for the four plants, which are to be built on the lower Vrbas river in the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Work on the projects will begin with joint feasibility studies for the plants, which are expected to have a combined capacity of 75MW and generate 450GWh of electricity annually.

The scheme is the first step in what Statkraft and the Government of the Republic of Srpska aim to be extensive collaboration in the energy sector. While the agreement, signed yesterday, is seen by the utility as a first major step forward in the region, Austrian power utility EVN is also making progress with exclusive negotiations to build three hydro plants in Albania.