EBRD backs 4 billion euro plan to wean North Macedonia off coal power

(Reuters, 17 Nov 2023) International lenders including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank are backing a 4 billion euro ($4.35 billion) plan to wean North Macedonia off coal-fired power, the head of the EBRD told Reuters.

The deal, which is expected to be announced at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai beginning on Nov. 30, will lay out a plan to close the country's two coal power plants and replace them with 1.7 gigawatts of renewable energy.

"Coal in North Macedonia represents 40% of the energy source, so it's very big, it's very important," EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso told Reuters.

"This is one example of what we would like to showcase in COP, to present this approach and what it can deliver, and the commitment of the country."

Dubbed the 'Just Energy Transition Investment Program', the plan follows similar efforts to retire coal plants more quickly in South Africa, Indonesia, Vietnam and Senegal, with the support of governments, public lenders and private investors.

Its price tag - the equivalent of 2,000 euros for each of the Balkan nation's 2 million people - underscores the difficulty many small or low-income countries face in financing a transition to cleaner energy.

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Reuters, 17 Nov 2023: EBRD backs 4 billion euro plan to wean North Macedonia off coal power