Austrian generator Verbund Gesellschaft has set up a joint venture with its state-owned Slovenian counterpart Savske Elektrarne on a 49-51% basis. The venture will build, and eventually operate, five hydro stations on the Sava river in Slovenia.

The move is said to be the result of years of negotiations and planning, and Verbund estimates the cost of the programme at around ASh7B (US$600M).

The combined installed capacity envisaged is 200MW, the peak annual production would be 900GWh, and the five plants are scheduled to come on stream between 2001 and 2009.

According to local press reports, Verbund’s precondition was a long-term right to buy power from the stations at a fixed price.