Hydropower will be used to cut Macedonia’s currently more than 40% level of power imports.
Together with a delay in the planned sale of power generation company Elektrani na Makedonija (ELEM), at least two hydropower plants with a combined capacity of some 530 MW are planned to bridge a pending energy crunch.
Economic growth, coupled with a drop in exports from Bulgaria following the shut down of its Kozloduy nuclear reactor, has presented demand constraint concerns.
Local media reports that economy minister Vera Rafajlovska said that the ELEM sale is not on the government’s agenda for this year, as it focuses on attracting investors to its hydro generation sector. RWE, Slovenia’s HSE, Verbund, Sumitomo, Statkraft, and Enel/Edison are understood to have passed the pre-qualification stage with the contract expected to be awarded in the next four months.
The two power plants are estimated to cost some €538 million.
The government is also tabling plans for 70 small hydro plants with additional tenders for a further 70 hydro plants every five months and some 400 potential development sites identified.