Bitola power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Bitola power station (РЕК Битола) is an operating power station of at least 699-megawatts (MW) in Novaci, North Macedonia with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as TEC Bitola.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Bitola power station Novaci, Novaci, North Macedonia 41.05832, 21.484266 (exact)[1]

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4: 41.05832, 21.484266

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology CHP Start year Retired year
Unit 1 operating coal - lignite 233 subcritical 1982 2026[2][3]
Unit 2 operating coal - lignite 233 subcritical 1984 2029[2][4]
Unit 3 operating coal - lignite 233 subcritical 1988 2029[2][4]
Unit 4 pre-permit[5][6][7][8] other - hydrogen (unknown), fossil gas - natural gas[6][7] 300[6][7][9][10] unknown 2026[11]

CHP is an abbreviation for Combined Heat and Power. It is a technology that produces electricity and thermal energy at high efficiencies. Coal units track this information in the Captive Use section when known.

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 REK Bitola [100.0%]
Unit 2 REK Bitola [100.0%]
Unit 3 REK Bitola [100.0%]
Unit 4 Elektrani na Severna Makedonija (ESM) [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Suvodol Mine, Brod-Gneotino mine, Imported


The plant consists of three 233 MW units, commissioned in 1982 to 1988.

The plant accounts for as much as 70% of the country's electricity production. The plant is owned and operated by the state-owned ESM (Elektrani na Severna Makedonija).[12][13]

Bitola power station is part of the REK Bitola mining and energy complex, is located 12 km east of the city of Bitola and about 15 km north of the Greek border. It uses coal from the Suvodol coal mine and Brod-Gneotino coal mine that are part of the complex.[14] However as of 2022, ESM has also been relying on imported coal - this is a question of poor quality and low calorific value and the fact that the deposits of the two domestic mines are said to be depleting.[15]

Bitola plant was said to double its sulphur dioxide and dust emissions in 2022 compared to 2021, while its operating hours were only about 20% higher, possibly related to the usage of different imported coal.[16]

Local news reported incidents at the plant in March 2024 and in May 2024.[17][18] The May 2024 incident was described as an explosion resulting in an outage of all three units.[19][20] The plant's operations were restored several days later.[21] The maintenance of the plant is becoming more and more difficult and expensive.[21]

Coal Phase Out

In October 2020, ESM said the first unit of the coal power plant would be switched to natural gas within five years. Gas would be supplied from a planned pipeline, as part of a strategy to abandon lignite use altogether in the country. ESM was investing in the modernization of the power plant’s remaining two units so that they could work for ten more years. New solar plants would be built to bridge the power gap as Unit 1 was transitioned from coal to gas.[22]

As of January 2022, North Macedonia was planning to phase out coal by 2027, decommissioning Oslomej power station in 2021 and Bitola power station by 2027. The final NECP confirmed the plan to decommission Bitola by 2027, with a possibility of delay by one or two years (ie by the end of 2029).[23][24]

In April 2022, ESM announced that they would be developing 280 MW of solar capacity near the Bitola thermal power plant.[25]

In July 2022, a representative from ESM in a video conference stated that the power station would be converted to gas in two phases. In Phase I, Unit 1 would be converted to gas by 2026.[26] In Phase II, Unit 2 would be converted to gas and Unit 3 would be replaced with solar energy generation.[26]

Despite the plans to phase out coal, in November 2023 it was announced that Bitola will build a pipeline that will supply centralized district heating (from the existing coal-fired units) to the town of Bitola, which currently relies on the old and inefficient fossil fuels and wood. The system is planned to be put into operation during the heating season 2025/2026. The first phase of the project to bring the pipeline to the city was realized with a EUR 40 million loan from Germany’s KFW Bank (signed in 2015), as well as an additional EUR 7 million of ESM’s own funds.[23]

Unit 1 Replacement with 250 MW Gas Unit

In November 2023, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski mentioned that ESM and the government were in communication with one of the largest U.S. companies for manufacturing and mounting of gas-fired facilities for electricity production.[27] For this purpose, the gas link from Zhidilovo to Bitola was completed in 2023, since this is the only entry point in the country. Construction of the gas pipeline with Greece was said to begin by the end of 2023, thus ensuring an additional gas source. Considering the existing infrastructure, transformer stations and a complete network at REK Bitola, there will be no problem to transition to gas, according to the Prime Minster.[27]

However, Bankwatch report from December 2023 is critical of the proposal to build a gas unit as it would extend the reliance on fossil fuels. Even though the claims by the Government in November 2023 confirmed the plan for a new gas cogeneration unit[28] (possibly also able to operate on hydrogen in the future), the project has no feasibility study, no environmental impact assessment and no financing, just two years prior to the planned starting date to replace the coal unit in 2026.[23]

In January 2024, the Government of North Macedonia initiated the process of development of the projects for Bitola and Negotino power plants that would run on gas and hydrogen. In its last session, the cabinet approved a report presented by the Ministry of Economy. The document highlighted the need to initiate projects for the Negotino regional power plant with a capacity of 800 MW, and the Bitola power plant of 250 MW to 300 MW. State-owned power company Elektrani na Severna Makedonija was tasked with starting negotiations with a potential strategic partner on potential cooperation on the two planned investments.[29]

Just Energy Transition Program proposal

According to reporting from November 2023, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank were planning to propose a €3 billion (US$3.26 billion) Just Energy Transition Investment Program (JET-P) to fund the replacement of Bitola power station and Oslomej power station with 1700 MW of renewable projects.[30] The plan was presented at the COP28 in December 2023.[31]

Articles and Resources


  1.'30.0%22N+21%C2%B029'03.4%22E/@41.05832421.475119715z/data=!4m4!3m3!8m2!3d41.05832!4d21.484266?entry=ttu. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Archived from the original on 18 February 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. Archived from the original on 25 January 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 4.0 4.1 (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2024. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Archived from the original on 08 January 2024. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archived from the original on 04 October 2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "North Macedonia looking for strategic investor for two gas-hydrogen-fuelled power plants". Balkan Green Energy News. 2024-01-11. Retrieved 2024-04-16.
  8. Archived from the original on 18 March 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. Archived from the original on 09 July 2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. Archived from the original on 09 July 2022. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. Government orders that ELEM is renamed into “Power Plants of North Macedonia” – ESM, Republika, March 19, 2019
  13. "Coal-Fired Plants in Kosovo & Macedonia," Industcards, accessed April 2016
  14. "TPP Bitola". unknown. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. "ЕСМ ќе купува уште 950 илјади тони јаглен, тендерите отвори до крајот на овој месец". August 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. "Pollution from Western Balkan coal power plants surged in 2022". June 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "РЕК Битола од ноќеска не произведува струја, пукнала цевка во блокот што бил приклучен во мрежа". March 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "Дефект на Блок 2 на РЕК Битола, комбинатот со часови воопшто не произведува струја". May 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. "Експлозија во РЕК Битола, вторпат во два месеци комплетно надвор од мрежа, вели ВМРО-ДПМНЕ". / May 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. "РЕК Битола: Денеска ќе биде пуштен во употреба еден блок". 31 May 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. 21.0 21.1 "РЕК Битола е вратен на мрежа, доцна синоќа е саниран дефектот на еден од блоковите". / June 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. "North Macedonia to shut REK Bitola coal plant unit in five years, turn to gas". Balkan Green Energy News. 2020-10-20. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 "Bitola's heating future: a pipeline to nowhere or solar solutions?". 22 December 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. "NATIONAL ENERGY AND CLIMATE PLAN OF THE REPUBLIC OF NORTH MACEDONIA" (PDF). January 2022. Retrieved 11 January 2024. {{cite web}}: line feed character in |title= at position 36 (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. "N. Macedonia's ESM to build four PV plants of total 280 MW near Bitola TPP," Renewables Now, April 12, 2022
  26. 26.0 26.1 "(ВИДЕО) ЕНЕРГЕТСКА ТРАНЗИЦИЈА НА РЕК БИТОЛА," ESM, July 8, 2022
  27. 27.0 27.1 "Negotiations over transformation of REK Bitola into gas-fired power station: PM". МИА. November 3, 2023. Retrieved December 15, 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. "Ковачевски: По 40-годишни очекувања, Битола добива парно греење - градиме енергетски независна држава, регионален лидер во енергетска транзиција". November 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. "North Macedonia looking for strategic investor for two gas-hydrogen-fuelled power plants". January 11, 2024. Retrieved April 16, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. "Exclusive: EBRD backs 3 bln euro plan to wean North Macedonia off coal power," Reuters, November 17, 2023
  31. "North Macedonia presents just energy transition platform worth EUR 3 billion". 5 December 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

Additional data

To access additional data, including interactive maps of the power stations, downloadable datases, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker and the Global Oil and Gas Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.