North Macedonian Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning Naser Nuredini said that the commission evaluating the offer submitted by a consortium of Greek companies at the tender for the construction of hydropower plant Cebren is expected to reach its final decision in mid- November.
However, Minister Nuredini said that, if the commission needs more time to make a decision, that deadline should be prolonged. He is confident if the offer is accepted by the end of the year, the construction of this, long awaited, project could start in 2023.
In September, the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning said that Greek Public Power Corporation (PPC), in cooperation with Archirodon Group, has submitted the only valid offer at the tender for the construction of HPP Cebren. The only other offer received was the non-binding offer from French EDF, which was rejected due to an absence of a bank guarantee. Therefore, a consortium of PPC and construction company Archirodon is the most likely partner of North Macedonian state-owned power utility ESM in the HPP Cebren project.
Last year, five consortia and four individual bidders have been selected to continue to the second round, out of ten candidates which submitted expressions of interest. The selected consortia included Turkish companies Enka, Colin, Ozaltin and Yapi Merkezi, Greek PPC and Archirodon, Austrian EVN and Verbund and Spanish Cobra and Cobra Hidraulika, while French EDF, Italian Webuild Italia, Chinese Gezhouba Group China and Power Construction Corporation of China qualified as individual bidders.
In February 2020, the Government launched a concession procedure for the use of water from Crna Reka for the production of electricity, namely the construction and operation of hydropower plant Cebren. The plant should have installed capacity of 333 MW, with estimated annual electricity production of 1,000 GWh, and should cost around 570 million euros. As a part of future private-public partnership, ESM plans to include HPP Tikves in the project company. The two HPPs will use water from the same source and can only function at the same time if they are managed by a single entity.
Procedure for construction of HPPs Cebren and Galiste is the longest tender procedure in the history of Macedonia. Both HPPs will be built on Crna Reka river, and they are offered as a package, not individually, although there were talks that only HPP Cebren would be built. Construction works for both HPPs are estimated to last 7 years. HPPs Cebren and HPP Galiste along with existing HPP Tikves should become one hydro cascade system.