Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said EUR 3.1 billion would be invested in energy through 2027, of which the overwhelming part would be directed into renewable energy and the rest is for the gas sector. At a presentation of a seven-year plan worth EUR 8.2 billion, he highlighted wind and solar power projects and the forthcoming endeavors in waste separation and management, sewage and waterworks and wastewater processing.
The Government of North Macedonia earmarked EUR 5.8 billion for public investment within an Intervention Investment Plan until 2027, worth EUR 8.2 billion. It is counting on EUR 900 million to EUR 1 billion from the EUR 9 billion Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.
Implementation depends on support from the opposition, but mostly from citizens, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said. Among the plan’s pillars are energy, railway and gas infrastructure, waste management, waterworks, sewage and wastewater processing. Private investments, The European Union’s grants, concessions and public–private partnerships together make up EUR 4.2 billion.
There is EUR 3.1 billion seen for the energy sector and EUR 504 million is for utility infrastructure including environmental protection: waste separation, wastewater processing systems and other projects.
Race with EU in shutting down coal power plants
The plan for the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic impact mostly matches the course of the European Green Deal and the funds that the EU envisaged for the purpose. The 27-member bloc is preparing the said EUR 9 billion for Western Balkan countries, which supported the EU’s strategy by signing the Sofia Declaration in November.
Zaev stressed the investments in renewable energy in the seven-year period would be sufficient for North Macedonia to be able to shut down all coal-fired thermal power plants earlier than many EU member countries and without layoffs. The investments bring expenses for citizens but the government will help the poor pay the bills and the price of electricity shouldn’t be raised this year, he said.
Solar power plants of over 1 GW in total are in pipeline
The government completed the negotiations with a German investor on the construction of a 400 MW wind farm and the investment is worth EUR 500 million, Zaev revealed and asserted there would be no incentives. The company already runs 500 MW in wind power plants in the Balkans and it has 5 GW in total in the portfolio, he added.
Within a public–private partnership, a 100 MW solar park valued at EUR 70 million will be installed in an old mine in the REK Oslomej coal complex, the prime minister said. The construction of a photovoltaic facility of 10 MW in the same area will start within weeks. Turkish company Girişim Elektrik is the contractor for the government-funded investment.
An unnamed German investor struck a deal for the construction of a 400 MW wind power plant
The EU will support the second 10 MW solar power plant project in Oslomej and another two of 10 MW each in the REK Bitola thermal power plant and coal mining system, in the prime minister’s words. Zaev underscored that the investments are valued at EUR 28 million in total.
The planned photovoltaic facilities in Makedonski Brod, the municipality of Sveti Nikole, Negotino, Brvenica and other places will have a combined capacity of 60 MW and the budget is EUR 40 million, he said. The construction of solar power plants in Kočani, a EUR 5 million investment by domestic companies, is expected to start within a few months, Zaev opined.
One of the biggest photovoltaic facilities in Europe is planned to be built in Štip
As for the plan for the installation of a photovoltaic system of 300 MW to 350 MW in Štip on 477 hectares, he said the government would probably decide to finance it entirely and also without adding debt. The endeavor is the responsibility of state-owned electricity producer Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM). It is estimated at EUR 200 million.
EFT from Serbia is among potential investors in solar parks
North Macedonia intends to invest EUR 25 million in a steel production plant with a 50 MW photovoltaic system. The project is worth EUR 250 million and German equipment will be used, Zaev said.
Furthermore, in his words, EFT from Serbia submitted an application for a 70 MW solar power plant in Sveti Nikole, estimated at EUR 50 million.
Waste incinerator with no smoke
The procedure has been completed for a 30 MW wind farm in Bogdanci, a project of Slovenian and Austrian investors worth EUR 50 million, he said. The pipeline includes a domestic investor’s wind power plant of 36 MW in Sveti Nikole, valued at EUR 60 million, the prime minister added. He said he expects a Turkish company to start the works on a 30 MW wind park in Demir Kapija and that it would cost EUR 50 million.
Zaev said a Turkish investor would build a 30 MW wind power plant in Demir Kapija
The government has been negotiating with an entity from Luxembourg which is ready to invest EUR 336 million in plasma gasification of waste, a treatment process without burning oxygen and with no smoke, Zaev said. He again failed to identify the potential investor. The project includes vehicles for the transportation of waste, transfer stations, dumpsters and the paving of a five-kilometer road to the village of Dubrovo near Negotino, he noted.
Zaev said the Čebren hydropower plant project, which involves the construction of another dam, was estimated at EUR 600 million and that he expects ESM to have a 30% share. He also mentioned a planned wood biomass power plant in Kriva Palanka and asserted that the 12 MW facility would cost EUR 50 million.
Europe to cover half of costs for wastewater treatment system in capital city
The construction of a wastewater treatment system in Skopje worth EUR 136 million should start by the end of the year and the government expects an EU grant of EUR 70 million, the prime minister said. Similar projects are envisaged for Bitola, Kičevo and Tetovo. The plan is also to invest EUR 37 million in a waste sorting and treatment facility in Sveti Nikole to cover the country’s eastern and northeastern region, and Zaev pointed out that the works may begin by the end of December as well.
North Macedonia intends to add several dams for water reservoirs and the projects are valued at EUR 100 million in total, he said.
Turning to natural gas, Zaev highlighted a EUR 20 million plan for a 54 MW cogeneration system in the Clinical Center in Skopje from a private investment.
North Macedonia to lean on gas
The state wants to replace some of the coal plant capacity with gas-fired power plants. It intends to give EUR 32 million for a 10% share in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Alexandroupolis in Greece and 25% of the future gas power plant there. The terminal is worth EUR 360 million, of which EUR 178 million will be covered by the EU, according to Zaev.
A 200 MW gas power plant valued at EUR 100 million is envisaged for REK Bitola, with the addition of a matching unit in the second phase, by the end of the decade. The government is waiting for a feasibility study for coal-fueled power plant TEC Negotino to decide on the model of the EUR 300 million investment in the construction of two units of 300 MW and 330 MW. It will probably opt for a private–public partnership, Zaev claimed.
There will be EUR 200 million for gas infrastructure in the budget, on top of EUR 300 million through PPPs and concessions, the prime minister stressed.