The country’s energy transition, which includes the construction of a gas plant, should inevitably be carried out mainly because it will contribute to the reduction of pollution, especially in Skopje.

“We breathe polluted air every day. Your children and mine are breathing polluted air. The gas plant of Mytilineos will not only contribute to the reduction of electricity and heating bills, but more importantly it will encourage more people to heat with heating thus reducing the primary source of pollution, such as wood and tire heating. For me, this argument is perhaps the most important in the whole debate – the health and life of my fellow citizens is priceless,” said Jovan Despotovski, director of TIDZ, in today’s interview with Sloboden Pechat.

In relation to the discussion that developed in the public whether the state should build such a capacity on its own or should be built by a strategic investor, Despotovski clarified that all factors must be taken into account during the calculation, not just the construction costs. About such a plant in neighboring Serbia, which is pointed out as an example by the opponents of this project, Despotovski says.

“Even in the case of neighboring Serbia, the state decided on a partnership with a private company – Russian Gazprom for the implementation of such a project. And if we take those parameters into account, we are talking about an initial value that is close to 250 million euros. Money that needs to be provided – it means that the state should be indebted and pay interest – we arrive at a figure of 400-420 million euros that the state needs to provide just to build the plant. In addition, if the state is the holder of a project, then all those profit taxes, contributions, additional costs that the private investor in this case will pay to the budget in the next 20 years, which we estimate to be somewhere around 100 million euros, the state will have to provide them independently. Something that everyone forgets is that the state has an obligation in two years from today to introduce those CO2 tariffs that already exist in Europe. Gas energy has lower tariffs than coal energy. In just two years, if there is enough time to prepare a study, to organize an international tender, the citizens of this country will have to pay an additional 100 million. So we arrive at a figure, without costs for the maintenance of the plant, which of course the state will have to provide from somewhere if it builds independently, we arrive at a figure of 600-700 million euros. And we need to define them now from where we will provide them, so that we can enter as an independent carrier in such a project. Time costs! We need to learn from successful examples in the world,” says Despotovski. According to him, a key argument in this case is where and at what price the state will provide the gas.

“The Greek Mytilineos is a big player in the electricity market. We are talking about a company that has almost 7.5 billion annual income and has access to the cheapest source of gas in Europe, which is the reference Dutch stock exchange TTF – access that the state ESM does not have. The key question is at what price the state will provide the gas. Here at the moment we pay 53 euros for gas, which is twice the price paid by Mytilineos on the Dutch stock exchange. As a small consumer, we do not have access to the Dutch gas exchange, but the Greek company does. And if we were to enter such a project, the question is how much the gas will cost and where it will be purchased from,” says Despotovski and adds that all these elements should be taken into account when making calculations and making decisions.

Despotovski also added that according to the proposed contract, the state will invest 17% of the construction cost in Mytilineos for a plant with top European technology and fully in accordance with the models and experiences in the EU. According to the analysis, for every euro that the state will invest, with all the money from taxes, contributions, savings on bills and savings on the price of electricity, 6.5 or 7 euros will be returned to the budget in the next twenty years.