On the first day of the Joint Commission for the implementation of the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between Montenegro and Slovenia, the alpine country has shown interest in expanding energy sector cooperation with Montenegro by utilizing the capacity of the undersea high-voltage power line that will link Montenegro to Italy, and by taking part in exploitation of the hydropower potential of the Morača and Komarnica rivers, the Government of Montenegro announced on its official web site.
Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister Milutin Simović met with Slovenian Minister of Infrastructure Peter Gašperšič, with whom he discussed bilateral relations between the two countries, and took the opportunity to present ongoing projects in Montenegro which have the potential to transform this Balkan country into the regional power hub.
The statement followed the presentation of Montenegro’s potential as a regional power hub, organized for a Slovenian official delegation led by infrastructure minister Peter Gašperčič and Finance Minister Mateja Vraničar Erman.
The undersea power line to Italy, valued at EUR 800 million, is an integral part of the 400kV Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor connecting Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to the European Union grid.
Italian electricity transmission system operator Terna laid the cable under the Adriatic Sea last February, and the entire project is due by the end of 2017.
According to Terna officials, the project is part of the company’s strategy to create a Mediterranean power hub that will reinforce ties with Slovenia, France and Switzerland. The company’s CEO Matteo del Fante emphasized the importance of Montenegro as a bridge that will allow Italy to enter the Balkans’ energy market. Terna is providing 80% of funding, while Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG), Montenegro’s state-run power operator is investing EUR 100 million, enough to construct the substation in Lastva and the landline towards Pljevlja.
EUR 740 million investments in new hydropower plants
Recent information on the Government of Montenegro’s official website stated intention to build four hydropower plants on the Morača river, with a combined installed capacity of 238 MW and projected annual output of 694 GWh. The total estimated cost is EUR 540 million and the estimated construction time for all four facilities is six years.
In 2016 Montenegrin power utility Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) announced the plan to invest EUR 240 million to build a 170 MW plant on Komarnica river. Last October the Montenegrin authorities partnered with China-based Norinco International Corporation Ltd to define the prerequisites for implementing of major hydropower projects, including the plants on Morača and Komarnica rivers.
Back in 2015, the Montenegrin government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Slovenia and Turkey. Under the provisions of the document, the signatory countries will maintain regular communication on the status and progress related to the construction of the Morača river project.