The first large-scale wastewater treatment plant for Skopje gets euro financing

EnergyBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2020 • 22.06.2020

The EBRD is providing a loan of EUR 58 million to finance the first large-scale wastewater treatment plant for Skopje. The financing will be complemented by EUR 78 million package from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EUR 68 million additional loan and the 10 million investment grant are provided by the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative.

“Wastewater treatment has been identified as one of the most urgent tasks under the Green Cities Action Plan developed by the city’s authorities and the EBRD. The majority of the 560 000 inhabitants of Skopje will benefit from wastewater treatment for the first time thanks to a new plant to be constructed in the capital of North Macedonia”, the EBRD said on its website.
The new plant will treat 51,3 million cubic meters of domestic raw sewage per year and return the effluent safely to the receiving environment. Thus it will significantly reduce pollution levels in the Vardar river and improve ecosystems and the wellbeing of people. The plant’s operation will cover nine of the 10 municipalities that constitute Skopje. The facility has a capacity for 650 000 people, accounting for the expected increase in population.

“The project will also benefit from technical assistance arranged through the EBRD for Vodovod i Kanalizacija Skopje, the city’s water utility company, for the introduction of a financial and operational performance improvement programme and a public service contract, which will be funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. A study to identify priority network investments is also covered under technical assistance”, the official press release on the project says.

The Green Cities Action Plan is part of EBRD Green Cities. It is a fast-expanding 1 billion euro urban sustainability programme helping more than 30 cities in economies where the Bank invests to become more environmentally friendly. The programme looks at ways of investing in greener transport, water and waste management and, more generally, seeks to make cities more suitable for living in. It offers a comprehensive business model for green urban development, combining strategic planning with investments and associated technical assistance.

The programme has three central components. The first is making Green City Action Plans (GCAPs), which include the assessing and prioritizing environmental challenges, and developing an action plan to tackle these challenges through policy interventions and sustainable infrastructure investments.

The second component is sustainable infrastructure investment through facilitating and stimulating public or private green investments in: water and wastewater, urban transport, district energy, energy efficiency in buildings, solid waste and other interventions that improve the city’s adaptation and resilience to climate shocks.

The programme also focuses on capacity-building by providing technical support to city administrators and local stakeholders to ensure that infrastructure investments and policy measures identified in GCAPs can be developed, implemented and monitored effectively.

“The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested more than EUR 1,9 billion in 124 projects in the country. Supporting environmental investments is a priority for the Bank as it addresses one of the country’s most pressing challenges”, the Bank announced.