Siemens interested in thermal power plant, submarine power cable projects in Montenegro

By bne IntelliNews November 29, 2013

Germany’s Siemens is interested in expanding its operations in Montenegro via engaging in energy sector projects, eyeing in particular the planned construction of a second unit at the country’s sole thermal power plant and the future submarine power transmission link with Italy, reported. The German company has been active in Montenegro since 2000.

Siemens’ Otto Oberparleiter said the company has so far mainly sold medical equipment and solutions in Montenegro but now plans to engage in the energy sector. He was speaking in an interview to daily Dnevne Novine.

“What is characteristic for us is that we offer more technological solutions rather than goods. And all energy facilities are of interest to us, starting from the submarine cable, the second thermal power unit, wind farms, etc. These are the projects we can contribute to,” Oberparleiter said.

He added the company plans to pay special attention to other projects with good potential like the electrification and the smart metering networks.

Montenegro plans to add a second 220-300 MW unit to its TE Pljevlja thermal plant, which has one existing unit of 210 MW. Last month it received nine bids from international companies and consortia in the tender for the construction of the unit, and is expected to announce soon who is the best among them. Bidders include several Chinese firms, Russia’s Rusatom Overseas and Czech company Skoda Praha, among others.

Furthermore, the tiny Adriatic state is planning a major submarine power transmission link that will connect its electricity system with the Italian one. The two countries signed an agreement on the establishment of the 415 km long (of which 390 km undersea cable) interconnection in November 2010. Italy's Terna is expected to begin the construction of the electricity transmission infrastructure between by the end of 2015. The power cable is considered one of the largest energy projects in the pipeline for the region, with an estimated cost of EUR 800mn.

In addition, Montenegro’s wind energy sector provides big potential since the country still has zero MW of wind power connected to its electric grid. Renewable energy investors, however, already announced some plans to invest in the country. Earlier this year Germany’s wdp said it plans to build a 50MW wind farm in Montenegro, investing over EUR 200mn in the installation of 25 turbines in the mountains in the Adriatic town of Budva where the wind is very powerful. wdp is reportedly intending to take over another wind project, which already has all permits, located in Ulcinj, also on the Adriatic coast.

A consortium of Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Austria's Ivicom Consulting is planning to develop the 50MW Krnovo wind farm (with an option to reach up to 72MW if the power grid allows it) in central Montenegro but the project has lingered after its signing back in August 2010.

In its 2013 progress report, the European Commission noted Montenegro’s industrial structure shift from aluminium towards energy, but warned that the country risks running late on its obligation to align with the Renewable Energy Directive as it has not adopted yet a national renewable energy action plan. This also signals that investors can find huge potential to engage in renewable energy projects, especially in the undeveloped wind and solar sectors.

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