The Government of Macedonia has announced tendering for the construction of solar power plants with a combined capacity of 200 MW in February, and for premiums for a 50 MW wind farm by the end of the year, while state power utility ELEM has secured financing for the construction of a 10 MW Oslomej solar power plant on the site of former coal mines.
At the signing ceremony for the Oslomej solar power plant loan between ELEM and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that this is the beginning of investment in solar power plants with an installed capacity that exceeds 200 MW.
The government is preparing several locations for public-private partnerships and concessions to invest in the construction of 200 MW solar power plants, Zaev said.
He noted that the EUR 5.9 million loan secured by ELEM for a project worth EUR 7 million is the first that the company has signed without state guarantees. ELEM will secure EUR 1.1 million for the project from its own revenues.
Deputy Prime Minister Koco Angjusev said that the Oslomej thermal power plant (TPP) will be transformed from a pollutant into a facility that does not pollute the environment.
Over the next few years the power plant capacity will be increased to 30MW-40 MW, Angjusev said.
He noted that tendering for 200 MW solar power plants will refer to state land, but it will be possible to use private land for this purpose if there is interest.
By the end of the year, the government will also announce tendering for premiums for a 50 MW wind farm, the deputy prime minister said, adding that the construction of a EUR 50 million transmission line between Macedonia and Albania will be launched this year.
Economy Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi said that the preparation of tendering documentation for the construction of 200 MW solar power plants is in its final phase, and that the auctions are expected in February.
Solar power plant on the site of former open pit mines
ELEM will build the 10 MW Oslomej solar power plant in a year at the location of the former Oslomej open pit mines. TPP Oslomej has been facing difficulties with sufficient quantities of coal, but also with criticism for environmental pollution, which is why it was shut down in June.
According to the ELEM’s press release, around 1,000 employees from the TPP will be trained and hired for the solar power plant operation.
The project, which will be implemented on around 15 hectares of land, has not only energy but also social and environmental significance, ELEM CEO Dragan Minovski said.
He said that the solar power plant will not be the only project operated by ELEM, as the company has two more projects in the pipeline, of which the public will soon be informed.
The projected annual production of the solar power plant is 15 GWh.
ELEM currently generates a vast majority of electricity in TPPs, about 80%, while the Bogdanci wind farm has an annual production of 100 GWh.