MEPSO, the transmission system operator of North Macedonia, claims the reports that it could let Greece’s Independent Power Transmission Operator buy a stake in ownership aren’t true. Nevertheless, major Greek energy players including state-controlled PPC have turned to the Balkans for acquisitions and business opportunities.
Just as state-owned Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO or Admie) was preparing earlier this month to announce that it was becoming the project promoter of the Greece-Cyprus-Israel electricity interconnection, a news report launched speculation that it may also expand to the Western Balkans. Namely, Energypress has learned from unidentified sources in North Macedonia that the Greek transmission system operator (TSO) is looking at the possibility to buy its counterpart in the neighboring country.
MEPSO, the North Macedonian TSO, has just denied the rumor. It reacted after it became a domestic political issue. VMRO-DPMNE, the main opposition party, accused the government, led by Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski, of endangering North Macedonia’s energy independence.
IPTO would require government assistance for foreign acquisition
According to the initial article, the Greek TSO has proposed to acquire a part of MEPSO, which the Government of North Macedonia backed, as did the United States. Such a deal would serve as a basis for IPTO’s expansion in the region though it would require the involvement of the government in Athens, the report added.
The media outlet’s interpretation was that the Greek company would be able to invest directly in North Macedonia’s interconnection lines. The two sides are working on upgrading a border power transmission link – Meliti-Bitola.
North Macedonia is foothold for Greek energy companies’ northward strategy
IPTO took point in the EuroAsia Interconnector by taking over 25% in late June when the project was stuck against looming deadlines for grants from the European Union.
Other major energy companies in its home market also have outward business views, with a particular liking for Southeastern Europe. Public Power Corp. or PPC, which the government controls through a minority stake, has just completed the acquisition of Enel’s entire business in Romania. Notably, the utility also leads the consortium chosen to build North Macedonia’s first pumped storage hydropower plant – Čebren.
HELLENiQ Energy recently set a foothold in Romania and entered the renewable energy market in Cyprus.
IPTO has the responsibility to make Greece a globally significant electricity transmission hub with tentacles stretching from Saudi Arabia to Poland. In the meantime, it is working on setting up and boosting interconnections across its neighborhood and with its own remote islands.