A consortium led by Finnish energy company Fortum has submitted a bid to the Montenegrin Ministry of Economic Affairs for the construction of a new solar power plant in the south of Montenegro.
The consortium partners – which include local power company Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) and Mumbai-based engineers Sterling & Wilson International Solar – said the bid was in response to a public call for tenders. The 200-MW photovoltaic (PV) facility will be located at Briska Gora, in the municipality of Ulcinj, close to the Adriatic coast and the border with Albania.
The bid marks Fortum’s first foray into the Balkans, although it already operates solar plants in India and Russia. For its part, EPCG said it saw the project as both a financial and strategic opportunity for future development, and one with great energy generating potential.
In May this year, the Podgorica ministry invited interested parties to bid for the land lease and the “planning, construction, exploitation and maintenance” of a plant to be developed in two phases. Under the first phase, at least 50 MW of turbines will be installed within 18 months of the land lease agreement being signed. Under the second phase, the plant will reach its full capacity within a further 18 months.
To realise the project, the government will lease out more than 6 million square metres of public land, in return for a modest rent of some 330,000 euros (US$384,000) per year. Some 2.9 million square metres of this land have been set aside exclusively for the new plant.
The new plant would raise the share of renewable power in Montenegro’s energy mix substantially. At the end of last year, the country had 727 MW of clean capacity installed, including 651 MW of hydroelectric, 72 MW of wind and just 4 MW of solar power. Advocates of PV projects have pointed to the fact that Montenegro enjoys over 200 days of sunshine each year.
The results of the bidding process are due in October. The winning applicants will also be given the opportunity to sign a contract for the guaranteed purchase of electricity under market conditions, the government said when launching the tender process.