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POLITICS PM Zaev: North Macedonia has clear energy strategy

North Macedonia is eyeing a friendly offer from Greece to co-own gas terminals in Alexandroupolis, where a 800-megawatt gas plant will be built to produce more energy than the country’s energy deficit, PM Zoran Zaev said Friday noting the country has clear energy strategy.

The plan, he said, is the state energy company ESM to make direct investments and to be able on its own to procure liquified natural gas from the United States, Qatar or Israel and to produce electricity.

Speaking to reporters after touring a transfer station in Skopje for disposal of old stoves and other appliances, PM Zaev said the country should soon shut down coal power plants.

“A block of Bitola REK will be closed in the coming period and it will be connected to a gas pipeline built along Bitola and turned into a gas plant,” he said.

According to him, efforts are under way for issuing three work permits for windmills, which are estimated to produce almost 100 megawatts of electricity.

Additionally, ESM will build it own windmills, 15-18, in the southern part of the country and the state is investing in more photovoltaics on four locations.

“The country is striving for renewable energy sources. Even though we aren’t in the EU yet, thus having no obligation to pay for emissions of carbon dioxide, we will have to adjust in the course of our negotiations with the EU,” PM Zaev said.

Attending the event alongside Zaev, ESM CEO Vasko Kovachevski said Bitola REK couldn’t undergo transformation overnight.

The company produces 75 percent of the energy in the country.

“We plan on shutting down the three blocks one by one in the coming years,” he said the company in the past two-three years had invested in modernizing and overhauling the power plant.

“Our country, as confirmed by the European Energy Community, is a leader in this region of Europe in energy transformation. The first such project was the closure of Oslomej REK and turning from coal production into solar power production,” he told reporters.

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