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Energy giants bid for North Macedonia’s Čebren hydropower project

Ten bids North Macedonia's Cebren hydropower

Photo: Enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

Published

December 25, 2020

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Published:

December 25, 2020

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The Government of North Macedonia is about to determine which firms and consortiums among the ten applicants qualify for the construction and operation of the Čebren hydroelectric system before proceeding to the next phase. The list of world-known firms includes EDF, PowerChina and Greece’s PPC.

Ten foreign companies and consortiums submitted prequalification offers for the Čebren hydropower project on the Crna river, the Government of North Macedonia said. It added appropriate bids would get to the second phase, where the firms would prepare complete documentation for the water use concession for the production of electricity.

The selected partner will enter a public–private partnership with state-owned company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) for the construction of the Čebren hydropower plant in Novaci in the country’s south.

Winner also gets to operate Tikveš hydropower plant

Turkish consortiums ENKA-Kolin and Özaltın – Yapı Merkezi are among the bidders. There are two applicants from China: Gezhouba and Power Construction Corp. of China (PowerChina).

The only mixed consortium, Eiffage – Waterlu-Andritz-Norconsult, is from France and Austria, respectively. French EDF and Austrian consortium of EVN and Verbund also participate. The remaining bidders are Webuild (formerly called Salini Impregilo) from Italy and the consortiums of Cobra and Cobra Hidraulika from Spain and Public Power Corp. (PPC or DEI) and Archirodon from Greece.

Companies from China, Turkey, Austria, Italy, France, Greece and Spain submitted prequalification offers

The government told ESM to hire a transaction advisor to prepare the tender documentation for the second phase. The 116 MW Tikveš hydropower plant, located downstream on the same river in the Kavadarci municipality, will be added to the project company because a single operator must run both facilities, the statement reads.

The private partner will also get the exclusive right to make a dam at the Orlov kamen location downstream from Čebren, where another hydropower unit could be installed. North Macedonia also intends to build hydropower plant Galište at the beginning of the Tikveš reservoir.

Čebren project can be expanded to 458 MW

The project is worth between EUR 500 million and EUR 600 million, the government estimated. An indication of EUR 570 million was given in the public call.

The Čebren hydroelectric system will have a capacity of 333 MW, or 458 MW if another unit is installed at the Orlov kamen dam. Annual output is seen at 1 TWh to 1.2 TWh, compared to ESM’s current production of 4 TWh per year.

According to the announcement, the facility will enable annual savings of 913,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

The project was already initiated 13 times in the past 15 years, but so far it failed to gain traction.

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