Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash

The fulfilment of the Green Scenario, part of the Strategy for Energy Development of the Republic of North Macedonia until 2040, is definitely the most favored option for the country’s energy future. At the same time, replacing coal with gas and other renewable energy sources (RES) i.e. the transition from coal to RES remains a strategic priority for the Government. Its implementation will bring environmental and financial benefits including stability of the energy system. The adopted legal decisions are directed towards these goals, including the planned and current projects that are underway.

This was stressed by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev during the joint press conference with the Director of AD ESM Vasko Kovachevski and the Director of REK Bitola Zlatko Kjurchievski, in which the process of energy transition – from conventional sources into the production of RES, was presented.

“In all of these projects and investments from the past three years, an accent is given on green energy, bigger production of energy from RSE and the increase of energy system’s efficiency. All current and planned investments are directed towards these goals i.e. the photovoltaic power stations, the replacement of one block at REK Bitola by 2026 with a photovoltaic power station and cogenerative gas power station, revitalization of the second block, and complete desulfurization and decarbonization of the process of electricity production. The goal is to secure the stability of the electro-energy system,” said Zaev.

He repeated that the second phase of the HEC Chebren is underway where out of 10 offers for a water concession, 9 have passed the first phase and that this is a project that is worth 600 to 800 million EUR that will provide 300 MW of new energy into the system. At the moment, the building of 62.5 MW photovoltaic power stations is underway, with a private- state production, and concerning REK Oslomej, the second phase of the tender for building additional 2 photovoltaic power stations with an additional 100 MW is underway. By March, the contractor will be known and that currently three lines of the gas network are being built. So far, 372 km of pipelines were built and by the end of the year, an additional 274 km of gas pipeline are planned to be built.

Vasko Kovachevski, ESM’s Director, stressed that the state has clearly opted for the green scenario in accordance with EU standards, which will lower the emission of damaging gasses during the production of electricity. The investments for the accomplishments of projects for the transfer of electricity production from coal to sun and gas have been directed toward that goal. REK Oslomej is an example of this where the building of a photovoltaic central with a capacity of 100 MW has been started.

“Photovoltaic power stations will be built in the proximity to almost all of our capacities such as HEC Mavrovo and Tikvesh, REK Bitola, the wind park near Bogdanci will be expanded and a new one will be built near Miravci. REK Bitola will be transformed from the use of coal into using RSE, but this is a process that will occur in several phases and parallel in order not to disrupt the stability and the electricity production. With the transformation of one block at REK Bitola into a power station run on sun and gas, with the capacity of 250 to 400 MW, electricity and heat energy will be produced for the needs of Novaci, Mogila, and Bitola,” said Kovachevski.

He said that the production of coal must continue, but in order to be cleaner, by 2023 a complete reconstruction of filters of the 1st and 2nd block will be done, and by 2026 a complete desulfurization of the plant until a complete replacement with RSE.