Montenegro intends to apply for financing from the European Union’s Growth Plan for the Western Balkans with large hydropower plant projects and upgrades of transmission and distribution grids, Minister of Energy and Mining Saša Mujović said.
The European Commission adopted its Growth Plan for the Western Balkans in early November. It aims to bring some of the benefits of membership to the region in advance of accession, boost economic growth and accelerate socio-economic convergence. However, the beneficiary countries must fulfill certain conditions to unlock EUR 2 billion in grants and EUR 4 billion in concessional loans.
In an interview with Vijesti, Minister Saša Mujović said his ministry has submitted a list of reform measures for the preparation of the reform agenda. He explained they were produced in cooperation with the Ministry of European Affairs and the EU Delegation in Montenegro. The plan, in his words, is for the electricity market, decarbonization, digitization of the distribution system and innovation.
Infrastructure projects will be submitted under the Western Balkans Investment Framework
He stressed they proposed achievable measures, but also ones ambitious enough to comply with the recommendations from the European Commission’s report on enlargement and the country’s economic reform program.
In addition to the reform measures, infrastructure projects will be applied under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), to be financed from the Growth Plan.
The potential projects are estimated at EUR 500 million in total
Montenegro intends to use the mechanism to accelerate the construction of large hydropower plants and strengthen the transmission and distribution networks to enable the integration of renewable energy sources and secure energy stability, Mujović explained.
He pointed out that the total value of the proposed infrastructure projects is up to EUR 500 million. After consultations with state-owned energy companies, the most mature projects will be selected, Mujović said.
The HPP Komarnica project awaits the evaluation of the EIA
Mujović recalled that the former government granted a concession to EPCG for the construction of HPP Komarnica.
He said the next steps would depend on the outcome of the evaluation of the preliminary environmental impact assessment report.
Without a green light, the building permit cannot be issued, he asserted.
Mujović stressed the goal of making Montenegro a completely energy-independent country has challenges and that they can only be solved in compliance with regulations and a broad consensus of all stakeholders.