North Macedonia is the first country in the Western Balkans to make a decision on abandoning coal, announcing it will shut down its thermal power plants by 2028.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has said the government plans to close North Macedonia’s coal-fired power plants by 2028.
To offset the impact of the move on electricity production, the country will invest in developing a total of 2,200 MW of renewable energy capacities, Zaev told Telma TV, according to a report by news portal Nezavisen.
According to him, this will be part of North Macedonia’s green deal and a transition towards new energy sources.
The country plans to build 1,600 MW of solar power plants, and 600 MW of wind farms
Currently, thermal power plants account for about a half of the country’s electricity output, covering about a third of total consumption.
The government has developed a plan for shutting down power plants burning coal and fossil fuels for the period until 2028, Zaev said, adding that North Macedonia will build photovoltaic power plants with a combined installed capacity of 1,600 MW and wind farms totaling 600 MW. These will be new power plants with a total capacity of 2,200 MW, he said.
North Macedonia was the first country to announce that it was considering a coal phaseout, back in early 2020. At the time, three scenarios were being considered: two of them envisaged a 2025 deadline, and the third one entailed a coal exit by 2040.
Over the past few years, the state and private companies have been investing in large-scale solar, wind, and hydropower projects in North Macedonia. Germany’s wpd has recently announced it will develop a 400 MW wind farm, while state owned ESM is preparing to build a solar power plant with a capacity of 300-350 MW.