June 16, 2024
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North Macedonia: Gas project threatens renewable goals

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Macedonian project for a natural gas interconnection with Greece will likely further delay the already slow transition to renewable energy sources and could result in a fossil fuel lock-in well past the 2050 target for decarbonisation, according to environmental group CEE Bankwatch Network.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), whose board of directors is scheduled to vote on a 98.6 million euro loan for the gas pipeline on April 24, failed to adhere to its environmental and social standards by neglecting national-level public consultations for this project, CEE Bankwatch said in an email sent to SeeNews.

– And neither North Macedonia nor the EBRD have calculated or analysed the emissions from burning the gas transported via the pipeline – the project’s most significant impact – CEE Bankwatch said.

The EBRD loan would be used for the construction of the natural gas interconnection pipeline with Greece and transmission pipelines connecting Gostivar to Kicevo and Sveti Nikole to Veles, the EBRD said in a project summary document in February. The total cost of the project is 140.2 million euro.

CEE Bankwatch also pointed to the oversized pipeline capacity, which would far exceed the country’s gas consumption and lead to a significant increase in gas consumption in North Macedonia and neighboring countries.

“While the EBRD’s 2023 Energy Sector Strategy claims that the Bank’s gas financing is limited to ‘exceptional cases’, this project shows otherwise. The pipeline is oversized, as its capacity would be 3 to 6 times as large as the country’s 2021 gas consumption, and the existing pipeline from Bulgaria would still operate as well,” CEE Bankwatch said.

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