SkopjeÂ – In an effort to increase power production, Macedonia has issued a public notice to investors interested in building hydropower plants along its biggest Vardar river.
The notice was published Monday in Londonâ€™s Financial Times as well as in the local media.
The project called â€œVardar Valleyâ€ initially envisages the construction of 12 hydroelectricity plants. Their overall installation capacity should reach 320 megawatts. The estimated annual power production is set at 1,000 GWh.
The companies that are interested should express their intent by March 15, after which they should prepare their bids, Macedoniaâ€™s Economy Minister Fatmir Besimi told local Utrinski Vesnik daily.
This is only the first package of small hydropower plants offered to investors, Macedoniaâ€™s minister added. He explained that a total of 65 locations have already been chosen and that additional public notices and tenders will soon follow.
The whole project is set to cost â‚¬1.2 billion. This, alongside other efforts should significantly lower Macedoniaâ€™s dependency on expensive electricity imports in the future.
The statistics shows that Macedonia annually produces around 6,000 GWh of electricity but this satisfies only around 70 per cent of its power demand. The rest is acquired from imports that rise every consecutive year.
The country gets most of its power from coal power plants. But experts say this resource will soon be completely depleted.
In addition, Macedonia has already started talks for its possible participation in the building of the Bulgarian nuclear power plant at Belene which is being constructed by Bulgariaâ€™s state-owned energy giant NEK and Germanyâ€™s RWE.