Renewables

North Macedonia completes first solar park on abandoned coal pit

North Macedonia 10 MW solar park former coal pit Oslomej

Photo: Government of North Macedonia

Published

April 7, 2022

Country

Comments

comments icon

0

Share

Published:

April 7, 2022

Country:

Comments:

comments icon

0

Share

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski inaugurated a 10 MW solar power plant at the aging Oslomej coal complex and said North Macedonia wants to transition from an economy dominated by fossil fuels to the production of energy from the sun and wind, hydropower and gas.

The Oslomej 1 photovoltaic plant, one of the projects from the European Union’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, started its test operation. The 10 MW facility was built at a former lignite mine belonging to the old thermal power plant of the same name in the municipality of Kičevo in the western part of North Macedonia.

Both the coal complex and the solar power unit belong to state-owned electricity utility Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM), which already has one wind park, Bogdanci, and plans to expand it. The company intends to close its coal and oil-fired power plants, switch them to gas or replace them with renewables.

Three more photovoltaic plants in pipeline for Oslomej

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said at the inauguration ceremony that the government and its partners want to conduct a transition from an economy dominated by fossil fuels to the production of energy from the sun and wind, hydroelectric plants and gas. He added the new solar power plant would have an annual output of 15 GWh to 17 GWh, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 2,800 households.

ESM is working on a new study for another solar power plant of 10 megawatts, and deals have been signed for the construction of two more photovoltaic power plants, which will completely switch the REK Oslomej complex from coal to renewable energy sources, Kovačevski stressed.

PM Kovačevski: The REK Oslomej complex will completely be switched from coal to renewables

The contracts were awarded to private partners Fortis Energy from Turkey and Solarpro from Bulgaria. They are obligated to pay a fee equal to 18.5% and 18% of production, respectively, which translates to EUR 1.5 million per year, the prime minister said.

Kovačevski also pointed to major wind and solar power projects underway, such as the one that Akuo is developing, and said there is more than 1 GW in renewables in the pipeline with a strategic investment status. The private partner for the Čebren hydropower plant will be selected by the end of June, he added and called it the most important project for the country’s energy transition.

North Macedonia’s economy to become climate neutral by 2040

Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi said the coal phaseout and the switch to renewables would be completed in ten years and that the economy would become climate neutral by 2040. Earlier, Minister of Environment and Physical Planning Naser Nuredini said that the coal exit deadline would be pushed back to 2030 from 2027.

The government earlier indicated the coal exit deadline would be pushed back to 2030 from 2027, while Minister Kreshnik Bekteshi now says the process would be done in ten years

The European Bank for Reconstruction and development, which provided a EUR 5.9 million loan for Oslomej 1, noted that the EUR 8.7 million project includes a EUR 1.6 million grant from the Western Balkans Investment Framework.

EBRD also said it is working with ESM on investing in additional solar power plants. The lender also approved financing for an extension of the plant in Oslomej and the construction of a new plant in Bitola for a combined total capacity of 30 MW. The EU is also supporting the investment with a EUR 5.1 million investment grant.

Of note, oil refiner Hellenic Petroleum yesterday inaugurated the biggest solar power plant in Greece and the Balkans, at 204,3 MW.

Comments (0)

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Enter Your Comment
Please wait... Please fill in the required fields. There seems to be an error, please refresh the page and try again. Your comment has been sent.

Related Articles

hydrogen germany subsidies

Germany providing EUR 4.6 billion in grants for hydrogen projects

18 July 2024 - Germany is disbursing EUR 4.6 billion in subsidies for 23 projects for hydrogen production, transportation and storage

Romania-ambitious energy storage plans 5 GW by end 2026

Romania’s ambitious energy storage plans: 5 GW by end-2026

18 July 2024 - These ambitious energy storage targets are aligned with transmission system operator Transelectrica’s recommendations and analyses

ems serbia grid connection wind solar

Serbia opens new round of grid connection applications for wind, solar

17 July 2024 - TSO EMS has announced that September 1 would mark the start of the new interval for the preparation of studies for the grid connection

Trafigura Romanian renewables solar power Nala

Trafigura enters Romanian renewables market via solar power project purchase

17 July 2024 - Trafigura's subsidiary Nala Renewables bought a ready-to-build PV project of 61 MW in Romania with an option to integrate battery storage