A consortium of Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC) and Archirodon Group has been awarded a concession to build the Čebren pumped-storage hydropower plant in North Macedonia. The planned 333 MW hydropower plant is of exceptional importance for the energy transition in North Macedonia and the entire region as it will help balance renewable energy sources, according to a statement from the Government of North Macedonia.
The project, valued at some EUR 1 billion, will be carried out in public-private partnership with state power utility Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM). The selected bidder now has three months to set up a joint venture in which ESM will have a 33% stake, the government said.
The construction of pumped-storage hydropower plant Čebren is expected to take seven years
Once the design and permitting procedures are completed, construction is expected to take seven years, the government said in the statement. In September 2022, it was announced that construction on the Čebren pumped-storage hydropower plant would begin this year.
According to earlier reports, the PPC- Archirodon submitted the sole acceptable bid in the latest tendering for the contract. Although a total of nine companies had been cleared for the second phase of tendering, the only other bid was submitted by French energy company Électricité de France (EDF).
The contract was awarded following as many as 13 failed tenders over the past 20 years, the government recalled.
PPC- Archirodon filed the sole acceptable bid in North Macedonia’s 14th attempt to award the contract
The idea for the Čebren hydropower project dates back several decades. The first feasibility studies were conducted in the 1960s, while the first contracts for the preparation of investment and technical documentation were concluded in 1986, the statement recalled.
The Čebren project includes building a new artificial lake on the Crna Reka river, which will be the biggest in North Macedonia. The 192-meter dam for the Čebren hydropower plant will be one of the highest in the world, the government said, noting that the dam will be of immense importance for flood defense, water supply, and agriculture.