First wind plant on the way in Macedonia

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Austria's Nova Energija is building an EUR 80 million wind farm in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Comprising 30 turbines, it will be the country's first wind plant. The project will be overseen by Vetropark, a local company established by Nova Energija specifically to develop it. Meanwhile, Macedonian state power company ELEM has joined forces with Norwegian electricity supplier NTE with a view to developing four wind farms in the south-east of the country. Locations have been earmarked at Sasavarlija (near Stip), Bogoslovec (Sveti Nikola), Ravnec (Bogdanac) and Flor (Kozuh). Each is planned for 12 turbines generating about 100 GWh a year, says ELEM. The World Bank is expected to provide technical support for the project. Securing government approval for construction could prove a long haul, warns Trpe Gruevski of the Association for Alternative Resources and Energy Usage in Macedonia. It took six years for the installation of one wind turbine at Vodno to be approved, a project completely financed by a foreign donor, he says. The government and power company ESM "didn't even support this project and the use of renewable energy sources," he adds. While the country still has no formal renewable energy strategy, Macedonia's energy regulator is working with the World Bank to devise a tariff system for wind power, a process it hoped would be completed last month.

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