Macedonia state-owned utility Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) has announced plans to build four photovoltaic power plants with a total installed capacity of 280MW.

The plants will be located at its exhausted coal mines in the  in REK Bitola energy complex, reported Balkan Green Energy News.

ESM’s latest plan is an expansion of the initial plan for three power plants with a total capacity of 160MW.

The 650MW Bitola coal power plant is expected to be replaced with gas-fired and solar power plants.

As per the updated plan, ESM plans to build a 20MW power plant near the Bitola power plant, which is claimed to be the largest in the country.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has appointed a consultant to prepare a conceptual design for the facility.

According to ESM, the preparation is underway for technical specifications and tender documentation for appointment of a contractor.

A 60MW PV facility will be constructed at the Suvodol mine, which has been abandoned.

A tender to choose a consultant for the preparation of the feasibility and environmental studies, is underway.

For this facility, Germany’s KfW Development Bank has offered the funds.

A solar park with 100MW capacity will also constructed at the location of the Suvodol mine. A fourth facility with an installed capacity of 100MW will be built at the Brod-Gneotino mine.

Preparations for building a 250MW gas power plant in REK Bitola are underway. This plant will offer power and heat for Novaci, Mogila and Bitola.

Currently, a district heating pipeline from REK Bitola to Novaci, Mogila and Bitola is being constructed.

These projects at REK Bitola are aimed at replacing coal in power production within the next decade.

Besides ESM’s projects, private company DTPU Mej grup is also preparing to develop a 50MW solar power plant in Novaci.

Last week, Minister of Economy Kreshnik Bekteshi stated that the coal phaseout in North Macedonia and its transition to clean energy would be completed in ten years.

Earlier, the government stated that it plans for a coal phaseout by 2027.

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Image: ESM’s latest plan is an expansion of the initial plan for three power plants with a total capacity of 160MW.  Credit: ESM.