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Solar energy production must not leave North Macedonia without food


Building solar farms and using solar radiation to produce electricity is one of the most effective ways to reduce North Macedonia’s dependency on imported electricity. The anticipated energy crisis once again reminded us how much the country is lagging behind in exploiting and investing in alternative energy sources, especially the sun, a resource that we have in abundance. The latest easing of the procedure for installing photovoltaics has awakened investors’ interest, but experts warn that we must now allow that to create more problems than benefits. For this reason, it must be precisely defined which land can and which cannot be used for building solar farms.

The production of energy from the sun must not leave us without food, and agricultural land must be protected from the wishes of investors. The conversion of fertile soil to construction land is not an unknown activity in the country and has proven to be disastrous many times, environmental activists warn.

Nevena Smilevska from” Eko svest” (Eco Consciousness) believes that facilitating the administrative procedure for installing photovoltaic systems together with the increase in the price of electricity should be an incentive for households and legal entities to invest in solar energy.

Smilevska says it is clear that this opportunity for a large number of citizens who belong to the vulnerable categories will still not be available, but there are a large number of households and companies that are willing to invest and need help in every way. That way, not only their consumption will be reduced, but the need for dirty electricity produced in REK Bitola will be reduced and will mean reducing the country’s dependency on energy imports.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction. But there is also a negative moment, the existence of the opportunity to convert agricultural land into construction plots and its use for setting photovoltaics. That’s unacceptable. The land is essential for food production. Of course, combining these two activities is permissible, i.e. the use of solar energy in the process of producing food, but the conversion of fields to land for energy use, whether private or public property, is unacceptable. The land is a resource that no one has the right to destroy,“ Smilevska says.

According to the information from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the received requests for the issuance of power generation licenses and the issued electricity generation licenses, only during this year, exceed the capacity of the Kozjak hydropower plant with an installed power of 82 MW. In 2021, according to the ERC, licenses were issued for a total of 16.6 MW.


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