Electricity

North Macedonia to revitalize eight hydropower plants by 2026

Photo: Government of North Macedonia

Published

May 30, 2022

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Published:

May 30, 2022

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Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski announced a project to revitalize eight large hydroelectric power plants in North Macedonia by 2026. They cover 20% of the country’s total electricity production. The Mavrovo hydropower complex will increase its capacities, but it is necessary to calculate 2 GW from hydroelectric power plants for the country’s energy transition to renewable sources.

North Macedonia has “a serious domestic task” ahead of it when it comes to the transition to renewable energy sources, said Blagoj Gajdardžiski, director of development and investment of the state-owned company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM), at the NET 2022 symposium in Budva, RTCG reports.

He stated that about 2 GW of hydroelectric capacity should be built, and another 500 MW from the wind should be provided to replace the energy production coming from coal today.

In other news, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski has just announced a project to revitalize eight ESM’s hydro power plants – Vrutok, Vrben, Raven, Tikveš, Caves, Globočica, Kozjak and Sveta Petka .

The installed capacity of these hydropower plants accounts for 85% of the total hydroelectric power in the country, and their average annual production is 1.28 TWh, which is 20% of the total electricity production in North Macedonia, the prime minister said.

The average annual production of eight hydroelectric power plants is 1.28 TWh per year or 20% of the country’s total electricity production

It is expected that the entire realization of the project last until 2026. Estimated funds for implementation amount to EUR 29 million. It will be secured by grants and soft loans, as well as by ESM’s funds, Kovačevski said.

Increasing the capacity of the Mavrovo hydro system

The announced revitalization project also includes the expansion of the Mavrovo accumulation capacity. That will provide an additional increase in electricity production by about 40 GWh per year, the prime minister said.

The projected increase in the performance of hydroelectric power plants will save 36.400 tonnes of CO2 emissions, Kovačevski said on the occasion of marking the 65th anniversary of the commissioning of the Vrutok hydroelectric power plant.

The Vrutok hydroelectric power plant has been operational since 1957 and, together with the hydroelectric power plants Vrben and Raven, form the Mavrovo hydro system.

Kovačevski noted that these eight hydropower plants are important for the management of the entire electricity system and its stability, voltage, and frequency regulation, as well as covering the daily spikes in the electricity consumption.

It should be noted that ecological organizations expressly oppose the construction of hydropower plants in protected natural assets, including the Mavrovo National Park.

Current projects in the energy transition

Prime Minister Kovačevski noted that ESM currently has 12 renewable projects at different stages of implementation.

ESM currently has 12 renewable projects at different stages of implementation

The Oslomej solar power plant, which will be built on the ground of a former mining site, will provide electricity for the needs of about 2,800 households. The project will recultivate 15 hectares of land, the prime minister said.

He recalled that North Macedonia would participate in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal project in Alexandroupolis, Greece, which would have a capacity of more than 5.5 billion cubic meters for storage and gasification.

Kovačevski also mentions that the Čebren hydroelectric power plant project has entered the second phase and that nine qualified potential bidders are inspecting the field. In the past 15 years, 13 tenders for the construction of the Čebren HPP on the Crna River have failed. The planned capacity of the hydroelectric power plant is 333 MW, while the investment cost is estimated at EUR 570 million.

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