INTERVIEW – PCC DEG Renewables set for Q3 launch of its first hydro plant in Macedonia

, SEE Energy News

Germany’s PCC DEG Renewables plans to bring on stream in the third quarter its Gradecka small hydro power plant (SHPP), the first in the company’s pipeline of five such projects in Macedonia with combined installed capacity of about 6.0 megawatts (MW), its managing director, Dirk Guerzenich, said.

Construction works on the Gradecka power station, located on the river of the same name some 90 kilometres (km) east of Skopje, began in the middle of 2012.

Duisburg-based PCC DEG Renewables started building a further two hydro power plants – Patiska and Galicnik – in early December 2012.

“After receiving a construction permit in November 2012, SHPP Patiska is estimated to start operation in early 2014 as heavy weather conditions in the region are currently delaying construction. In contrast to that, SHPP Galicnik – sited in an area with a more favourable climate – may start operation in late 2013,” Guerzenich told SeeNews in an emailed interview.

The Patiska site is in central Macedonia, about 25 km south of Skopje, while Galicnik is located in western Macedonia, some 75 km southwest of Skopje.

Earlier this month, PCC DEG Renewables started construction works on SHPP Brajcino after the project received a non-appealable construction permit in late December.

Guerzenich said the Macedonian authorities have delayed some of the company’s projects in the country, prompting the signing in November of annexes to the relevant concession agreements to the effect that the concessionaire is not responsible for the delays or has in any way defaulted on its obligations.

The annexes also grant extensions to the start of construction works and deadlines for bringing the power plants on stream set out in the initial concession agreements.

Guerzenich said initial talks have been held with potential backers for another of its hydro projects in Macedonia, the Kriva Reka SHPP. The concession agreement for this project was signed with the Macedonian government in September.

“We got positive signals that we could potentially be able to finance the SHPP Kriva Reka project with funds from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,” Guerzenich added.

The planning and permitting phase of the Kriva Reka project is expected to last about 18 months so that construction works are expected to begin in 2014. The concession was awarded for 23 years with an extension option for as many years.

The Kriva Reka site is located in northeastern Macedonia. The hydro power plant there will have an installed capacity of 1.6 MW, which makes it the biggest of the company’s five SHPP projects in Macedonia.

PCC DEG Renewables is currently investing in wind power and hydro power projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

The company has a pipeline of three SHPP projects in Bosnia – Podkozika, Poljanice 1 and Poljanice 2, all affected by extremely slow permitting procedures, Guerzenich said.

“Nevertheless our project company in Bosnia, GRID BH, finally received environmental permits for the projects Poljanice 1 and 2 in November 2012.”

The company’s SHPP Mujada in Bosnia has been operational since the beginning of 2009. With an installed capacity of 1.15 MW it has so far produced about 24 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, mitigating CO2 emissions of about 26,000 metric tonnes.

With a combined installed capacity of more than 5.0 MW and an estimated annual production of about 25 million kWh these four projects in Bosnia would save about 27,500 metric tonnes of CO2 on average each year, according to PCC DEG Renewables estimates.

PCC DEG Renewables GmbH is a joint venture between Germany’s PCC SE and DEG – the German Investment and Development Company of the KfW Banking Group.

Source seenews