The Pljevlja coal-fired thermal power plant will be shut down for several months in 2025 due to ecological reconstruction, which will force Montenegro to import large amounts of electricity, worth an estimated EUR 160 million, according to the energy and mining minister, Saša Mujović.
State-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG), the operator of TPP Pljevlja, has started the ecological reconstruction to modernize the facility, align it with European emissions standards, and extend its lifespan. However, given that the 225 MW plant accounts for 40% of the country’s electricity production, its shutdown will require substantial imports.
EPCG officially launched the reconstruction project in April 2022, when it was announced it should last about two and a half years.
Now, during an air pollution panel discussion in the northern city of Bijelo Polje, minister Saša Mujović said that EPCG had not yet procured electricity for 2025, when the TPP Pljevlja would be reconstructed, Vijesti reported.
TE Pljevlja will be offline for nine months
Mujović stressed that the proposal to subsidize electricity bills for residents of Bijelo Polje was unsustainable. He is almost certain that similar subsidies will be canceled next year for Pljevlja as well, which is considered by far the most polluted city in the country because of TPP Pljevlja and coal mining.
According to him, subsidies for Bijelo Polje for 2024 and 2025 are even more unsustainable with the planned shutdown of TPP Pljevlja, when Montenegro will be forced to import electricity.
About EUR 160 million will be spent on the imports, instead of making an income in the similar amount, which is a heavy burden for a poor country such as Montenegro, Mujović pointed out.
EPCG made an EUR 80 million profit in 2023
He says the fact that Montenegro has not yet secured electricity for 2025 makes him restless, adding that he will act on the issue very soon.
Of note, last year EPCG posted an EUR 80 million profit. Montenegro usually generates enough electricity for its domestic consumption, and often exports surpluses. Sales abroad depend on the water levels, considering that more than 50% of electricity is generated in hydropower plants. In recent years, the country has exported several percent of its output.
EPCG previously said it planned to use 2024 to prepare for a halt in the operation of the TPP Pljevlja.