North Macedonian state-owned power utility ESM said that it is planning to build four solar power plants with combined installed capacity of 280 MW in the vicinity of its coal-fired thermal power plant Bitola.
The statement from the company said that it is currently working, in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on the concept for a 20 MW solar power plant which will be installed next to TPP Bitola.
ESM also said that it is seeking a consultant for a feasibility and environmental studies for a second solar power plant, with a capacity of 60 MW, which will be built at the nearby Suvodol mine. The studies have been financed through a grant from the German KfW Bank.
Last week, ESM has put Oslomej solar power plant into trial operation. The 10 MW solar power plant is built on the depleted Oslomej coalmine. It is expected to produce between 15 and 17 GWh of electricity per year, enough to cover the demand of some 2,800 households. The project was supported with a 5.9 million euros loan provided by the EBRD, as well as a grant of 1.6 million euros from bilateral donors to the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).
Last year, ESM said that the company plans to close unit 1 of TPP Bitola by 2024 and replace it with 250 MW gas-fired cogeneration unit, which will also supply thermal energy to the city of Bitola. The two remaining units of TPP Bitola will be modernized through the reconstruction of electrostatic filters by 2023 and the installation of desulfurization facility by 2026, thus extending their operational life and complying with the EU environmental standards.