Electricity

North Macedonia to offer neighbors to jointly build Negotino gas-hydrogen power plant

north macedonia negotino power plant kreshnik bekteshi

Photo: Ministry of Economy

Published

January 16, 2024

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Published:

January 16, 2024

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North Macedonia will offer neighboring countries to participate in the construction of the Negotino gas and hydrogen power plant, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi said.

The idea of joint construction of power plants is not new in the region. Bulgaria announced in October last year that Greece, North Macedonia and Serbia would prefer long-term supply contracts than to invest in two planned reactors in the Kozloduy nuclear power plant.

Serbia previously announced it was ready to buy a stake in one of the new nuclear power plants in the region, including the Hungarian Paks 2 facility.

A few days ago, the Government of North Macedonia tasked state-owned power company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) with starting negotiations with a potential strategic partner on the construction of the Negotino power plant of 800 MW, and the 250 MW to 300 MW Bitola power plant. Both would use gas and hydrogen.

The Negotino regional power plant would enable market coupling among the countries in the region

In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Kreshnik Bekteshi said that the preparations for the start of construction of a gas pipeline with Greece are in the final stage. At the same time, the government started the procedure for the construction of Negotino and Bitola, which are intended to replace existing oil- and coal-fired plants, respectively.

The Ministry of Economy decided to submit letters of interest to neighboring countries, especially in the Western Balkans, because the planned capacity of the Negotino project is large, Bekteshi said.

According to him, such cooperation would provide regional balancing for the electricity system of North Macedonia, enable market coupling in the region to boost the operation of the country’s power exchange, and bring the security of electricity supply.

If the neighbors do not agree to join the project, the planned capacity of the Negotino power plant will be reduced

If the neighbors are not willing to participate, then the planned capacity of the Negotino power plant will most likely be reduced, in line with North Macedonia’s needs, Bekteshi pointed out.

The model envisaged for the project, in his words, is a public-private partnership between ESM and a private company that has the experience and technology to enable the new power plant to use both gas and hydrogen.

Preparations for the construction of the gas pipeline with Greece in the final stage

There is no precise valuation of the two projects for gas-hydrogen-fuelled power plants, but the country certainly has the possibility to build the power plant in Bitola, Bekteshi claimed. On the other hand, the neighbors will be asked to join the Negotino project, the minister added.

He said February 1 is the deadline for the applications for the construction of the gas pipeline to Greece and that many domestic and foreign companies are interested. Construction is expected to start in March with a deadline to finish the job in 18 months, Bekteshi added.

According to the minister, the project will ensure the security of supply and diversification because North Macedonia currently depends on Russian gas and Bulgaria as a transit country.

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