North Macedonia imports 600,000 tons of coal from Greece, for 35 million euros

, SEE Energy News

After a break of almost three years, REK Bitolj is working again with all three blocks. On Tuesday, as previously announced by ESM, the third block was connected to the grid and started supplying electricity, after the installation of a new transformer worth 6 million euros, which was delivered from Turkey.

Block 3 has not been working for a year since the old transformer caught fire, and its connection means more intense coal consumption. According to ESM, REK Bitolj will rely on imported coal from Greece. A contract was concluded with the Greek company EO Protergia Energy. It is a daughter company of the energy giant Mytilineos, which already has the status of a strategic investor in Macedonia and is interested in importing gas for the needs of the newly built gas power plant, for the production of electricity and heat.

ESM’s latest contract for importing coal from abroad was signed with Protergia. It was concluded on December 1 last year, and a record purchase was agreed – 600,000 tons of coal, which is by far the largest amount since the beginning of the energy crisis, in parallel with the increasing reduction of domestic stocks. The value of the contract is 2.18 billion denars, or about 35 million euros, for the total contracted quantity.

On the other hand, in the past period there has been a decline in Macedonian electricity imports to cover the deficit. For several days in a row, ESM did not import electricity, and for the delivery from Thursday, January 12 to the following week, ESM contracted with the company ETMT Energy to import a total value of 200,000 euros, which is much less than the amount spent in December and November last year.

Block 3 REK Bitolj is back in operation after 366 days, after the transformer was damaged in a fire in November 2021. The new transformer of Block 3 was made by the Turkish company Astor. At the same time, the transformer that was damaged in the fire is being repaired in a specialized factory in Serbia and is expected to arrive soon at REK Bitolj, where it will be kept as a reserve.

With the inclusion of Unit 3, REK Bitolj operates at full capacity. The last time the plant worked with all three blocks was in the 2019/2020 heating season, i.e. from February to March 2020.