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EBRD, EU and WBIF support solar energy in North Macedonia

By Bojana Vlajcic

  • A grant agreement worth €1.5 million for the solar plant in Oslomej was signed today
  • Grant is financed by bilateral donors to the WBIF
  • Donor funds complement €5.9 million EBRD loan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Union (EU) and bilateral donors are consolidating their support for solar energy projects in North Macedonia with grant financing for the first large-scale solar plant.  

A donor-funded grant agreement of €1.5 million was signed today in Skopje financed by bilateral donors to the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF). The grant complements an EBRD loan of €5.9 million.

The grant will support Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM), the country’s state-owned electricity company, in financing the final construction stages of a 10 MW solar plant being built on the site of the exhausted coal mine in Oslomej. Test operations began in April last year.

Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said: “We are keen to continue working with North Macedonia on reducing its reliance on ageing coal-fired infrastructure. Following successful completion of the Oslomej 1 solar pant, we are excited to see that the government is continuing with investments in solar energy, and we stay ready to provide further support if needed.”

As well as providing financing, the Bank is working with the authorities of North Macedonia to address the implications of inequality of the energy transition and to identify opportunities for economic diversification in the area, including for redeployment and reskilling. The EBRD is helping the country to conduct a “just transition” diagnostic and establish an action plan through inclusive policy dialogue with the authorities. The “just transition” project is expected to act as a model for the wider Western Balkans region, which faces similar challenges and requires a green, inclusive and just transition in the energy sector.

Besides the bilateral donors to the WBIF, Italy supported the investment by financing the project’s technical feasibility assessment.

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