Works Commence on the 2015 Connectivity Agenda Project North Macedonia – Albania Power Interconnection
On 29 July the works commenced on the Connectivity Agenda 2015 project ’North Macedonia – Albania Power Interconnection: Grid Section in North Macedonia (Bitola – Ohrid – Border with Albania)’. By providing the first interconnection between the two countries, this project completes the 400 kV electricity ring between Albania, North Macedonia and Greece, which will enhance cross-border exchanges in electricity and contribute to the development of the regional market.
The project includes an almost 100 km long 400 kV Overhead transmission line (OHTL) from city of Bitola to the border with Albania, a new 400/110kV Substation (SS) in Ohrid, upgrading of 400/110 kV Bitola 2 SS with a new bay, and introduction of grid efficiency components in the Electricity Transmission System Operator of North Macedonia (A.D. MEPSO).
The total investment value of the section amounts to €50 million. The financing is secured through the WBIF with €12m in EU grants, €37m in EBRD loan and a national contribution of €1m from the beneficiary A.D. MEPSO.
Connecting the systems of North Macedonia and Albania will help balance the two power markets and enable more efficient management of the reserve and emergency capacities in the region and Greece. Moreover, the new transmission line will trigger better and less expensive energy supply to residents and businesses in North Macedonia by normalising voltage levels, stabilising load flow and frequency fluctuations, and decreasing technical losses in the overall transmission system.
At least 270 jobs will be created by MEPSO and its contractors for the duration of construction works, i.e. a minimum of 30 months.
This EU-funded project is part of the European Commission’s initiative to establish an East-West electricity transmission corridor between Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Italy. The section between Bulgaria and North Macedonia (financed by the EBRD) has been completed, and a new 400 kV connection between Albania and Montenegro as well as the undersea power interconnector between Montenegro and Italy are already operational.
This project is important for the integration of European electricity markets and is a Project of Energy Community Interest (PECI) since 2013. It is included in the Strategy for Energy Development of North Macedonia until 2040 and is funded under the Connectivity Agenda of the European Commission, one of the EC’s highest priorities for the Western Balkans. Its investments strengthen the power systems in the region, enhance cross-border exchanges in electricity, and contribute to the development of the regional market.
Mr Samuel Žbogar, EU Ambassador to North Macedonia: ‘Reflecting on the European Green Deal, this project supports the creation of a reliable interconnector which enables free energy flow without any technical barriers. It provides secure, sustainable and affordable energy, and at the same time delivers on jobs, competitiveness and empowerment of citizens beyond national borders.’
Mr Kreshnik Bekteshi, Minister of Economy of North Macedonia: ’North Macedonia provides an uninterrupted connection and flow of electricity with the interconnection lines in Europe and beyond. Investors have the opportunity to build new facilities for electricity production. Reliable interconnections are also a prerequisite for merging the electricity markets in Europe.’
Ms Eva Shukleva, MEPSO General Director and President of Managing Bord: ’The MEPSO's missing 400kV interconnector between North Macedonia - Albania is starting with construction. As a transmission system operator and ENTSO-e member, MEPSO has the obligation to provide quality and reliability and secure regional stability on the power systems. I am glad that with construction of this interconnection MEPSO will complete the Corridor 8 in energy area and open an opportunity for easy energy flow in Europe from East to West.’
Mr Miloš Bukvić, MEPSO Head of Department for Investment and Development: ’The construction of the 400kV transmission line from Bitola2 SS to the North Macedonian/Albanian border in a length of almost 100 km and the construction of a new 400/110 kV SS near Ohrid is a huge challenge for MEPSO, but knowing a lot about the people in MEPSO and the level of experience that they have I want to stress that we are well equipped and ready to take this challenge. Our expectation is to finish with construction of the OHTL and the SS in 30 months period.’
More about the project here.
More about the Connectivity Agenda here.
More about WBIF activities in North Macedonia here.