Electricity

North Macedonia to reconsider strategic partnership model for Čebren, gas-hydrogen power plants

north macedonia kovacevski prime minister cebren general electric

Photo: Government of North Macedonia/Flickr

Published

January 12, 2024

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Published:

January 12, 2024

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The Ministry of Finance of North Macedonia will analyze whether it is more profitable to construct the Čebren pumped storage hydropower plant and two gas-hydrogen facilities with its own funds or with strategic investors, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski said.

Ten days ago the Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Kaja Šukova said the Government of North Macedonia would annul the tender in which Greece-based Public Power Corp. (PPC) and Archirodon were selected for the Čebren project. Just two days ago, the government tasked state-owned power company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) with starting negotiations with a potential strategic partner on the Negotino and Bitola gas-hydrogen power plant projects.

Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski now said that an analysis is required on how much the investments would burden the public debt compared to the option of involving private companies, MIA news agency reported.

The Society of Engineers asked the government and parliament to adopt a law stipulating that Čebren would be built with state funds

The profitability of both options needs to be determined to decide whether the government will implement the projects or add private investors, he stressed. From a financial point of view, in his words, it is good to have a private investor, because the public debt is not increasing.

Kovačevski pointed out that he respects the opinion of the Society of Engineers, which yesterday submitted an initiative to the government and parliament to adopt a law stipulating that Čebren would be built with state funds.

Kovačevski: It is best to build gas-hydrogen-fuelled power plants with General Electric

The Ministry of Finance, which is in constant contact with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, will analyze whether it is better to build the energy facilities using state funds or with the help of a private investor, Kovačevski said.

He stressed that, in his view, the power plants that will be able to run both natural gas and hydrogen should be built with General Electric from the United States, and claimed that the country is North Macedonia’s best friend, compared to all others. Cooperation with a partner from the US  would provide long-term stability and security in the energy sector, Kovačevski added.

Still, Kovačevski stressed it is his personal opinion and that there would be many opinions in the runup to the final decision.

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