Unfulfilled: No go for plant Chebren, with or without plant Galishte

Потенцијалот на малата река Црна е голем, ако се знае да се искористи. Фото: Wikipedia

The activities to attract investors for the construction of hydroelectric power plant (HEP) Chebren are approaching their final phase. This investment will have a direct influence on the increase of economic activity in the Mariovo region and will further utilise Macedonia’s hydropower capacity. The investment is worth approximately €400-450,000,000, with a capacity of 333 MW in turbine mode (if the investor adds another turbine, the capacity will rise to over 400 MW) and 347 MW in pump mode. The project will be a public-private partnership, i.e. a joint investment between the state company ELEM and a private investor. The success of this investment will make ELEM a serious player on the electricity market in SE Europe. The private investor for the project will be selected by the end of 2014 and the construction will commence shortly after. [Budget: €400-450 million. Deadline: 2015-2022, completion requires 7 years]



As the intention to build HEP Chebren and HEP Galishte dates from the middle of the previous century in what was then Yugoslavija, it is no wonder this promise has not yet been fulfilled. What is puzzling, however, is the resolute nature of the claims made by VMRO-DPMNE regarding this project in recent election campaigns, with the exception of the first iteration, the 2006-10 programme, where the project is outlined in general and no deadlines are given.


According to what has already been written on Chebren and Galishte, one of which is to have an exceptionally tall dam wall, the projects are purpose-built. The dam reservoirs are primarily intended to provide sufficient cooling water for the nuclear reactor of a future nuclear power plant in Macedonia.


According to the experts we contacted, this is the thinking behind the insistent assertion that the two dams are seen as a single package, with the HEP Chebren dam wall to be no less than 195 metres tall. Such requirements make for an exceedingly expensive project and drive investors away.


The plan, included in the Macedonian Energetic Development Strategy (adopted by the Government, although this has not been communicated publically), has in all likelihood been abandoned by the Government recently, as the last call for bids referred only to HEP Chebren, now with a smaller dam, offering the investor the use of HEP Tikvesh in the package.


This proved insufficient to attract investors, as only a single Greek company responded to the call. Recent news indicate that an Italian company licenced to build four small hydro plants in Macedonia has expressed interest in building HEP Chebren.


Truthmeter has followed this unfulfilled promise through the years and the development is visible in the links provided here.



Written by Teo Blazhevski

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This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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