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North Macedonia to Phase Out Coal, Pivots to Gas-Hydrogen Power

North Macedonia is embarking on an eco-friendly transition, converting its Bitola and Negotino thermal power plants from coal and heavy oil to natural gas and hydrogen. 

This initiative is a key part of the country’s strategy to phase out coal.

The plan includes sourcing natural gas from the Alexandroupolis LNG terminal in Greece, connected via a 123-kilometer pipeline. This diversifies the nation’s gas supply, reducing reliance on Bulgarian routes.

The government has greenlit the construction of two major gas-hydrogen power plants: an 800 MW plant in Negotino and a 250-300 MW facility in Bitola. State-run Elektrani na Severna Makedonija is leading the negotiations for these projects, highlighting the government’s commitment to sustainable energy.

In December 2023, North Macedonia announced its ambition to end coal usage by 2030, strengthening its power network and developing new capacities for a fair transition in coal regions.

Former Prime Minister Zoran Zaev had initiated the transformation of Bitola’s first block to gas in 2020. ESM’s CEO Vasko Kovačevski revealed plans for modernizing Bitola’s remaining blocks for a further ten years of operation.

The Bitola facility, with a 700 MW capacity, produces 75% of the nation’s electricity. The Negotino plant, a 210 MW facility, is also set for a natural gas conversion. These changes mark significant steps in North Macedonia’s journey towards a greener, more sustainable energy future.

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