Electricity production in Macedonia

Electrification in Macedonia began at the beginning of the last century. The first power plant in Macedonia was put into operation in Skopje in 1909.

The power plant produced direct current with a power of 60 hp and a voltage of 220 V. The electricity produced in the first power plant in Skopje was used to light up the building of the residence of the Turkish governor (at that time Macedonia was part of the Ottoman Empire), for the pumping station of the city water supply and for lighting one street in the city. In 1924, when the second city in Macedonia – Bitola was electrified, several smaller diesel generators were put into operation in Skopje for the production of electricity, which was used for lighting several factories at that time, the city hospital and the theater.

The first hydroelectric power plant in Macedonia was built in the same period, in 1927, on the river Pena in Tetovo. HPP Pena had a power of 1760 kW. In addition to the demand of Tetovo, this power plant also produced electricity for the demand of Skopje, for which the first 35kV transmission line in the length of 45km was built. By the beginning of World War II, several low-power generators were put into operation in Macedonia. In 1938, the hydroelectric power plant Matka was put into operation, which with its characteristics and power of over 4MW was the first large capacity for electricity production in Macedonia at that time.

Until 1940, almost all major cities in Macedonia had electricity. More intensive electrification and development of the electric power system of Macedonia started after World War II. In 1945, the Federal Electricity Company (FEP) was established, which was later transformed into the Electric Power Company of Macedonia (ESM). In the period from 1956 to 1970, 7 hydropower plants were built and put into operation (which still operate today). The largest of them is HPP Vrutok, which is one of the three hydropower plants from the so-called Mavrovo basin. In 1964, the first 220kV transmission line was built, which connected Skopje with TPP Kosovo A, and the construction of the first 220kV transformer station Skopje-1 began the following year (1965). In the following decades, the transmission power grid was upgraded with 440 kW transmission lines and transformer stations. In the period from 1978 to 1988, three thermal power plants with a large installed capacity were built in Macedonia, which are still in operation today. The first of them – TPP Negotino (210 MW) – was built in 1978 and uses fuel oil. This plant is used as a backup capacity within the country’s power system. The second is TPP Oslomej (125 MW) built in 1980 and TPP Bitola with three units, called blocks, with a total installed capacity of 630 MW, the last of which was put into operation in 1988. TPP Oslomej and TPP Bitola use coal (lignite) as fuel and together supply 70% of the total domestic production of electricity.

With the new trends in the production of electricity in Macedonia, investments in renewable energy sources have started. The wind farm in Bogdanci started operating in 2014 with an installed capacity of 36.8 MWh and can supply electricity to a city the size of Gevgelija, Dojran or Bogdanci.