Renewables

Bislimoski: Energy transition to make North Macedonia exporter of electricity

marko bislimoski rke energy transition north macedonia

Photo: RKE

Published

September 19, 2023

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Published:

September 19, 2023

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The energy transition should transform North Macedonia from an importer to an exporter of electricity, said Marko Bislimoski, president of the Energy and Water Services Regulatory Commission (RKE).

North Macedonia has increased its electricity generation capacity by 30% in the last few years. According to Marko Bislimoski, the increase is driven by investments of private companies, which were hit by a surge in electricity prices.

“From being an importer of electricity, the country is slowly shifting to a position that would make it an exporter, through the transition to green energy, spurred by the energy crisis, which contributed to an increase of more than 30% in installed capacity,” Bislimoski told MIA news agency.

The capacity of all power plants in the country was 2.100 MW before the energy crisis. It is expected to reach 2,700 MW by the end of 2023.

New solar power plants reduce the need for imports

The trend of accelerated construction of power plants, primarily solar systems for self-consumption, started at the beginning of 2022. Since then, RKE has issued more than 600 permits, of which 99% are for photovoltaic plants, with a total capacity of 420 MW. By the end of the year it is expected to reach 600 MW.

Bislimoski noted that solar power plants generate less electricity than the ones that run on fossil fuels. But he stressed that they still help to reduce the country’s import dependence. According to official data, power imports, which usually range from 30% to 40%, were reduced to 14.5% in the first seven months of the year,.

The government must build PSHPP Čebren and a large gas power plant because they are necessary for balancing the system

As long as system operators are issuing permits for the connection of solar power plants to the grid, it means there are no balancing issues, Bislimoski asserted. Transmission and distribution system operators have an obligation to analyze the impact of new facilities on the electricity network.

Bislimoski expressed the belief that the country should build a larger gas power plant and the Čebren and Galište hydropower plants. They will be necessary to balance the system, he added.

He said he also expects a few power plants would be built by private companies: a 400 MW photovoltaic plant in Štip, a 400 MW wind farm in Kriva Palanka, and a cogeneration unit in Skopje, which is a Greek investment.

They will transform North Macedonia from an importer into an exporter of electricity, in Bislimoski’s view.

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