Renewables

Electricity becomes Montenegro’s biggest export item

montenegro electrcity export energy balance bih hpp piva

HPP Piva (photo: EPCG)

Published

December 7, 2023

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Published:

December 7, 2023

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Montenegro’s electricity exports reached EUR 190 million over the period January-October 2023 or 35% of the total, led by deliveries to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Electricity has become Montenegro’s most important strategic product as its exports are worth around 4% of the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) for this year, according to data from the Statistical Office of Montenegro – Monstat, daily newspaper Vijesti reported.

In the same period last year, electricity exports were worth EUR 140 million, accounting for 24% of the total.

This year’s electricity surplus is expected to reach 818 GWh, while next year a surplus of 482 GWh is planned, according to the Energy Balance of Montenegro for 2024, which the government recently adopted.

In comparison, the volume came in at 138 GWh in 2022.

Power exports are proportional to hydropower production, which in turn depends on hydrological conditions

The results demonstrate fluctuations in hydropower production due to changes in hydrology, according to the document. Hydroelectric facilities Perućica and Piva, operated by Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG), account for half of the state-owned power utility’s annual output.

Hydrological conditions in 2022 were unfavorable. This year they were better than average, and in 2024 they are expected to be close to average. It was reflected in hydropower output – 1,454 GWh in 2022 and 2,150 GWh this year. The expected result in 2024 is 1,853 GWh.

The shutdown of the KAP aluminum smelter in Podgorica in 2021 contributed to the rise in surplus as well. The facility consumed 580 GWh per year until then. Only 18.8 GWh is planned for the firm in 2024.

Over the period January-October 2023, BiH was the main export destination for Montenegrin electricity (EUR 50 million), followed by Serbia and Slovenia (EUR 42 million each). Electricity was also sold to the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary and Denmark.

Solar production 50% below the plan

Interestingly, solar power production increased fivefold this year. However, the result was 50% below the plan.

The authors of the Energy Balance attributed the jump to newly installed photovoltaic units. The underperformance, on the other hand, was the result of delays in the Solari 3000+ and Solari 500+ schemes, implemented by EPCG.

PV plant capacity is seen increasing from 30 MW to 100 MW next year

Montenegro’s current photovoltaic capacity is 30 MW, and it is projected to reach 100 MW in 2024. A 5 MW solar power plant is expected to come online, while EPCG plans to inaugurate its Brana Slano and Brana Vrtac units, with 3.7 MW in total, and speed up the implementation of the programs Solari 3000+, Solari 500+ and Solari 5000+, the document reads.

Solar power production is planned at 104 GWh in 2024, or 3% of the total, but also five times more than estimated for 2023.

Power plants in Montenegro have a combined 1,080 MW in capacity.

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