Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Kaja Šukova said the Government of North Macedonia would annul the tender in which Greek companies PPC and Archirodon were selected for the Čebren pumped storage hydropower project.
Two years after the start of the 14th attempt to find a partner for the construction and operation of one of the largest energy systems in North Macedonia, it’s back to the drawing board again. Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Kaja Šukova said she would propose the cancellation of the deal with Greece-based Public Power Corp. (PPC) and Archirodon. The consortium was selected in September.
The idea for the Čebren pumped storage hydropower plant dates back to the 1960s. The energy storage project for 333 MW to 458 MW in capacity is valued at EUR 1 billion. Annual output would be between 1 GW and 1.2 GW.
The two companies were supposed to establish a public-private partnership with state-owned electricity producer and supplier Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM).
Archirodon sought a change in the terms of the proposed deal but the government wouldn’t change its original offer, Minister Kaja Šukova claimed
Archirodon obviously couldn’t obtain bank loans under the conditions set in the tender, Šukova said. She pointed out that its bank guarantee expired at the end of December, so that the arrangement is off. The company sought a change in the terms of the proposed deal but the government stood by the initial conditions, the minister claimed.
Energy experts and decision makers in the sector should now discuss whether to launch another public call or if North Macedonia should install the pumped storage hydropower plant on its own, Šukova added.
Studies conducted before the tender showed there would be no significant impacts on the environment, in her words. The failed public calls began two decades ago and the previous one was published in 2016.
According to indications from state officials over the past few months, the foreign partners were supposed to obtain a water concession before signing the contract, and it became a sticking point.