READ MOREThe EBRD is lending €5.9 million to ELEM, the state-owned electricity company, to build the first large-scale solar power plant on the site of an exhausted lignite coal mine. The company will meet the rest of the total costs estimated at €8.7 million.
The new solar plant is ELEM’s first and will be the largest in the country. Once operational it will produce nearly 15 GWh a year of electricity and displace 12,177 tonnes of CO2 a year.
It will also support ELEM’s efforts to rehabilitate the 26 hectare mine site that used to supply the TPP with coal.
The country, whose capital Skopje was recently named one of Europe’s most polluted cities, aims to source 23 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
This project will help the country reduce its reliance on ageing lignite-fired infrastructure and also help the local community in the Kicevo municipality, traditionally reliant on lignite mining and generation, to develop more sustainable practices.
ELEM, a public electricity generation utility owned by the Macedonian government, provides 90 per cent of the country’s domestic electricity production – about 3,600 GWh from two thermal power plants and 1,250 GWh from eight hydropower plants.
ELEM also operates two combined heat and power facilities and the first wind farm in the country, producing about 100 GWh annually.
The new solar project, signed in Skopje by the EBRD’s Head of Power and Energy Utilities, Harry Boyd-Carpenter, and by ELEM Chief Executive Officer Dragan Minovski, will diversify the production mix of ELEM from coal and increase the share of renewables, providing more clean energy in a country and region with capacity shortages and high levels of carbon intensity. ■