Renewables

German wind farm investment in North Macedonia to top EUR 500 million

German wind farm investment North Macedonia EUR 500 million

Photo: Chris Briggs on Unsplash

Published

October 13, 2021

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Published:

October 13, 2021

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German company wpd will build a 415 MW wind farm in North Macedonia, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said, adding it would be the biggest greenfield investment in the country so far. The project is valued at over EUR 500 million,

North Macedonia declared two renewable energy projects strategic investments last month. German company wpd intends to build wind farm Virovi with a capacity of 415 MW in a zone spanning Kumanovo, Staro Nagoričane, Rankovce and Kriva Palanka in the country’s northeast. EFT is developing an 80 MW solar power project in Erdželija near Sveti Nikole, just south of there.

The wind farm that wpd is preparing to install will have 69 turbines and, at a value of EUR 500 million, it will be the biggest greenfield investment in North Macedonia since it gained independence in 1991, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said at a press conference with Ambassador of Germany Anke Holstein.

Virovi to be North Macedonia’s biggest renewable power plant

The government wants 1.5 GW in photovoltaics and 700 MW in wind power plants, he added. Zaev noted the only existing wind farm in North Macedonia, Bogdanci, has 16 turbines. Its capacity is 36.8 MW, though it is supposed to be expanded by up to 15 MW. State-owned utility Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) owns the facility. It also has a 50 MW wind farm project in Gevgelija.

The prime minister said the total capacity of Bogdanci, Virovi and other future wind power plants that the government authorized tops 600 MW. Developers of a private wind power project called Bogoslovec, planned for 36 MW, obtained finance in June.

Virovi would be the biggest renewable power plant in North Macedonia. Vrutok, the largest hydropower plant, has a capacity of 165.6 MW, ESM’s data shows. The utility’s coal complex REK Bitola includes the biggest power plant in the country, with 700 MW, though only two of its three units are usually active.

No financial support from government

Zaev said wpd’s project would produce enough electricity for 290,000 households and that it won’t be eligible for any state support. The endeavor will be implemented in several phases, he revealed.

The company estimated it would actually be worth more than EUR 500 million. According to wpd, local workers and suppliers will be hired for construction and management. The German firm vowed to improve energy and road infrastructure in the area.

It operates in the region through its subsidiary wpd Adria. The company already owns four wind power plants in Croatia. The firm is developing the Brajići project in Montenegro and has plans for more than 1.2 GW in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina including a solar park.

According to its website, wpd Adria is interested in investing throughout former Yugoslavia and in Albania.

In February, Germany’s KfW Development Bank agreed to provide a credit package of EUR 80.5 million under favorable terms to the Government of North Macedonia for ESM’s renewable energy projects and a EUR 2.4 million grant for feasibility studies. Germany has similar deals with Kosovo* and Serbia.

 

CORRECTION: The initial version of the article said the loan would be also used for switching power plants from coal to gas. KfW has clarified that it “does generally not finance any investments into gas based power generation.”

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
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