Montenegro: Extension of TPP Pljevlja expected

, SEE Energy News

Although the previously undertaken obligations to complete the modernization of the TPP in 2020 have not been completed, it is unlikely that Montenegro will be asked to close it, because other deadline extensions were already granted to other countries in the region.

Negotiations with the Energy Community (EnC) on the continuation of the operation of coal-fired thermal power plant Pljevlja, which expended the previously approved 20,000 operational hours with environmentally unacceptable technology, will continue this week, and the result could be known in four to five months.

TPP Pljevlja now accounts for 40 % of Montenegro’s electricity production, and in dry periods of the year this number is over 50 %. Its shutdown would mean that Montenegro must import a huge amount of electricity, which would affect the growth of electricity prices for all categories of consumers by 20 to 25 % and the loss of 1,200 jobs in the thermal power plant and adjacent coalmine.

The Ministry of Capital Investments, which took over the energy department from the former Ministry of Economy, and state-owned power utility EPCG, which operates the plant, believe that the chances for such a scenario are minimal. They expect that the negotiations will be successfully completed, that they will get additional operational hours with the current technology, but also that there will no longer be an obstacle for the environmentally-oriented reconstruction of the plant to be completed by the end of 2022. In June 2020, EPCG signed a contract for the reconstruction of coal-based thermal power plant Pljevlja with a consortium led by Chinese Dongfang Electric Company (DEC). The deadline for the completion of works is 39 months for the date of signing the contract. The selected consortium offer to perform the reconstruction for around 54.4 million euros including VAT. Project implementation is scheduled to take place in the period 2019-2021, after which the operation of TPP Pljevlja will be enabled to continue for at least 20 years. Reconstruction will assure compliance with the requirements and adherence to the strictest environmental protection parameters as envisaged under the latest EU Decision 2017/1442.