GGF-backed Bogoslovec wind farm is model for green energy investments in Balkans

GGF Bogoslovec wind farm model green energy investments Balkans

Photo: Kreatif


June 11, 2024






June 11, 2024





BNB Kompani and the Green for Growth Fund celebrated the opening of the Bogoslovec wind farm. It is the second wind farm in North Macedonia. GGF said that Bogoslovec, its first equity investment, is a model for future renewable energy projects.

BNB Kompani and the Green for Growth Fund (GGF), advised by Finance in Motion, inaugurated North Macedonia’s second wind power plant. It is located some 80 kilometers southeast of the capital Skopje, in the Sveti Nikole municipality.

Bogoslovec, with a total project value of EUR 61 million, is GGF’s first equity investment. The fund became a minority shareholder in project company Thor Impex. It may open the way for other similar endeavors, as the fund’s top representatives stressed it should serve as an example for future projects.

GGF dedicated to green energy investments in Western Balkans

GGF, established in 2009 and advised by Finance in Motion, also financed solar power plants Karavasta and Blue 1 in neighboring Albania. It highlights the fund’s dedication to green energy investments in the Western Balkans. More renewable electricity projects are coming up in the region.

“Just as the GGF has been able to play a catalytic role as an investor in making the Bogoslovec wind farm happen, the German government and the European Commission are catalytic investors in the fund itself. It is through their foundational investments that international and development financial institutions and private investors are crowded in, growing the pool of vital green capital that is being invested in the region,” said Fund Director for GGF in Finance in Motion Borislav Kostadinov.

Coalitions of investors pooling their efforts can turn renewables into mainstream business in North Macedonia and the Balkans

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site, near the village of Bogoslovec, he called for greater cooperation in the green energy sector.

“Only by pooling our efforts, by building coalitions of investors, by complementing one another’s strengths will we have the necessary sources to accelerate the development of renewables and turn it into mainstream business in North Macedonia and the wider Balkan region,” Kostadinov said.

GGF Bogoslovec wind-farm-model-green-energy-investments-Balkans Borislav Kostadinov
Fund Director for GGF in Finance in Motion Borislav Kostadinov

Bogoslovec nearly doubles North Macedonia’s wind power capacity

At 36 MW, Bogoslovec almost matches the size of the Bogdanci facility, effectively doubling the country’s wind power capacity. It is connected to a 110 kV overhead power line. The system consists of eight turbines on towers with a height of 102.5 meters each.

“We have finally reached a turning point when it comes to consensus, when it comes to action and to vision for a greener future in the Western Balkans. We see it in record renewable energy auctions. We see it in targeted coal phaseouts. We see it in industry and households installing photovoltaics at scale and we see it in the work of the financial sector to build an ever more sustainable system,” Chairperson of  GGF Christopher Knowles said.

Knowles: We have finally reached a turning point when it comes to consensus action and vision for a greener future in the Western Balkans

The fund is a public-private partnership, combining the best of both sides: the development agenda and risk absorption of the public sector and the deeper pockets of private investors and their ability to scale, in his words.

“We are very glad to count on the support of both the European Commission and the German government and their role as our catalytic founder shareholders, and also the founding roles of the European Investment Bank and KfW as cornerstone investors. And many others now. I think we can say safely that we have every major DFI institution in our investor base and a growing number of private sector investors,” Knowles stated.

GGF-Bogoslovec-wind-farm-model-green-energy-investments-Balkans Christopher Knowles
GGF Chairperson Christopher Knowles

New wind park in Sveti Nikole generates enough electricity for 20,000 households

GGF’s chair pointed out that it reached almost EUR 1 billion in committed capital. Since inception, it delivered EUR 1.6 billion of targeted green investments across 19 countries, to almost 60,000 beneficiaries, Knowles recalled. They are businesses and households working on energy efficiency measures, and vital infrastructure projects such as Bogoslovec, he added.

Knowles highlighted the fact that Southeast Europe is the biggest recipient. He said the work in North Macedonia exemplifies the overall reach and the diversity and impact of the fund’s operations. Over the past 15 years, it partnered with major domestic banks and project developers to finance a wide range of green investments.

GGF has so far provided EUR 1 million in grants in technical assistance projects in North Macedonia

The fund has put together numerous funding facilities totaling over EUR 50 million so far. Additionally, it launched dedicated projects through its GGF Technical Assistance Facility for local financial institutions, for another EUR 1 million in the form of grants.

The expected production in Bogoslovec can cover the electricity needs of more than 20,000 households in North Macedonia, resulting in 80,000 tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions, according to project calculations.

Bogoslovec was financed with a EUR 51 million senior debt package from a group of lenders led by Erste Group. The other members are Komercijalna banka, NLB banka and Sparkasse banka. The Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) provided a subordinated loan of EUR 10 million.

Swift project completion

European Union Ambassador David Geer said at the event that North Macedonia is expected to grow its renewables capacity to 937 MW by 2030.

“The Western Balkans has huge natural advantages in the areas of wind, solar and hydroenergy, and huge opportunities for private investment, complementary and exceeding the investment from the EU and other partners. What’s important is that the authorities and private industry work hand in hand and constructively so that the renewable energy sector maximizes this potential. And this project shows this can be done,” he underscored.

The wind power plant was completed less than three years after the project was presented, Deputy Ambassador of Germany Otto Graf noted. “I would say this is a great success, especially compared to many public projects, which hardly ever make it in such a short time,” he asserted.

The EU and Germany also participated in funding the Bogdanci wind park, operated by state-controlled electricity utility Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM). Notably, German equity funds are participating in the investment in Bogoslovec, via the Green for Growth Fund, advised by German impact investor Finance in Motion.

Bogoslovec 2 under consideration

Siemens Gamesa supplied and installed its SG 5.0-145 turbines in cooperation with Croatia-based ING-GRAD, Mihajlo Mihajlovski from Thor Impex pointed out. Their subcontractors were Vardargradba, Hitachi Energy and Elnos Group.

Project firm Thor Impex has a PPA deal with MEMO for the Bogoslovec facility

“I thank all our partners, all the participants that believed in this project. Your support was priceless. Another key factor was our partner, the Green for Growth Fund, without which this project wouldn’t have been a reality today,” said Mihajlovski, who initiated the development of the Bogoslovec investment. BNB Kompani, Thor Impex’s majority shareholder, already had experience in renewable energy projects in North Macedonia.

Mihajlo Mihajlovski BNB kompani Thor Impex
Mihajlo Mihajlovski from Thor Impex

Mihajlovski went further to reveal that the Bogoslovec 2 project is under consideration and called on the partners to launch it jointly within a year and a half.

Since March 1, the Bogoslovec wind park has been delivering electricity to National Electricity Market Operator MEMO under a power purchase agreement (PPA), signed several years ago. It lasts until 2035.

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