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Drazenka Becirovic, adviser at the Montenegrin Ministry of Economy, discusses the prospects of planned energy investments in Montenegro after the unsuccessful closure of the tender for the construction of the Moraca river dams.
Q: Considering the unsuccessful closure of the tender to construct hydro-power plants on the Moraca, which expired on September 30, will the government assign the project directly to Elektroprivreda Crne Gore, EPCG? In that case, would the government’s investment be higher than the amount initially planned, considering that the Montenegrin state is the majority shareholder in EPCG?
A: At this moment it is not possible to say that this is expected. In the Memorandum of Understanding we repeated the possibility of EPCG taking charge of the project to construct hydroelectric plants on the Moraca if there are no offers for the tender or if the offers are unacceptable, but only if analysis shows this scenario is possible. Therefore, this is the condition of all conditions in order to be able even to talk about EPCG getting the concession.
Q: Is the failure of the dams tender bringing into question realization of other related projects planned with Italian companies, like the underwater energy cable to Italy?
A: Of course not. These are separate projects. With the aim of constructing the marine cable between Montenegro and Italy, and of realizing our strategic partnership, Montenegro’s energy transmission system, Crnogorski Elektroprenosni and Terna of Italy concluded contracts to realize this project, worth over 850 million euro.
The interconnection line between Montenegro and Italy is surely an incentive for the construction of new energy sources not only in Montenegro but also in the region.
The interest in constructing new [energy] potentials such as small hydropower plants and windmills, which is evident in Montenegro, is in good part based also on the expectations from the project of connecting Montenegro and the region with the European Union market.
This way, Montenegro will position itself as the energy hub, which is also confirmed by the suggestion of Energy Community to make Podgorica the seat of the Auction Office, [a body that should facilitate cross border energy trade in south east Europe by conducting auctions for cross-border capacity allocations. ]
Q: Will the unsuccessful closure of the Moraca tender, and EPCG taking charge of the project, influence the initially planned deadlines to construct the Moraca dams, whose opening was planned for 2015?
A: The scenario of the EPCG building dams on the Moraca will depend on analysis showing what kind of scenario is possible. Only after these analyses are over will we be able to talk more precisely about eventual deadlines or some other way of realizing this potential.
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