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Dec 12, 2007 19:10 EEST
SKOPJE (Macedonia), December 12 (SeeNews) – Macedonian power utility ELEM announced on Wednesday that it had invested 8.5 million euro ($12.5 million) in diverting the Temnica river to reopen one coal mine and in opening another mine in order to prolong the western Macedonia Oslomej energy complex's electricity generation life.
“The diversion of the Temnica river cost seven million euro, while the opening of the Old Groove mine cost 1.5 million euro. The diversion was necessary to reopen the Oslomej- Zapad mine, with an estimated capacity of eight million tonnes of coal, while the Old Groove mine, which is to be opened, has an estimated capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of coal. This is expected to prolong Oslomej’s operations by ten years to 2018,” ELEM said in a statement posted on its website.
Coal-fired REK Oslomej is the second largest electricity generator in Macedonia, producing 9% of the country’s electricty generation, ELEM said.
Macedonia split in 2005 its communist-era power monopoly ESM into an electricity generation unit, ELEM, a distribution unit, ESM AD, and a transmission company MEPSO, as part of plans to liberalise its energy market. Austrian power utility company EVN bought 90% of ESM AD in 2006, while ELEM and MEPSO remained state-owned.
The current government has recently cancelled a tender for the 210-MW power plant TEC Negotino, and said the plant was not for sale.
Macedonia consumes around eight million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year and imports around 35% of the energy it needs.
The ex-Yugoslav state of nearly two million people lacks enough generation capacity to cover industrial demand and the government sends large industrial consumers to the free market as part of its plans to fully liberalise the country's energy market. However, Macedonia's outdated power infrastructure has serious deficiencies that prevent the country from importing as much electricity as it would like.
MEPSO called in October an international tender, seeking to import 578,225 megawatt hours of electricity from January 1 to December 31, 2008. The volume is over five times lower than imports agreed for 2007, as MEPSO plans to secure electricity supplies only to households.
($ =0.6814 euro)
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