First electricity interconnector to be built between Albania and North Macedonia

EnergyBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 3/2021 • 08.10.2021

First electricity interconnector to be built between Albania and North Macedonia

Construction of a new power substation in Ohrid has started with the facility being a key component of the first electricity interconnector between Albania and North Macedonia, which will span from Bitola in North Macedonia to the Albanian border. The project is financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU). It is part of the EU’s efforts to establish an east-west electricity transmission corridor between Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro and Italy. 

The start of construction work was marked with an official ceremony attended by the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, Albania’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Ilir Bejta, as well as representatives of the EBRD and EU (Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, and Julian Vassalo, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to North Macedonia).

“Supporting crucial, regional cross-border infrastructure is key to creating larger integrated energy markets and increasing energy security in the region. The construction of this new line will help scale up renewable energy capacity in North Macedonia, allowing the country to achieve a faster decarbonisation of its electricity sector and also improve the balancing of electricity systems by connecting the electricity market of North Macedonia, which is dominated by thermal power, to the Albanian electricity market, where hydropower prevails,” said Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia.

The project completes the 400 kV electricity ring between Albania, North Macedonia and Greece, enhancing cross-border exchanges in electricity and contributing to the development of the regional market. The section between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, also financed by the EBRD, has already been completed. Also complete and operational are a new 400 kV line between Albania and Montenegro as well as a submarine cable between Italy and Montenegro. It is expected that the new transmission line will ensure improved and affordable energy supply to residents and businesses in North Macedonia by normalising voltage levels, stabilising load flow and frequency fluctuations and decreasing technical losses in the overall transmission system.