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Italy commits over EUR 1 million for technical assistance in Western Balkans

5 projects for a total amount of around 1.1 million EUR have recently been approved under the Technical Cooperation Programme supported by the CEI Fund at the EBRD, financed by Italy. This grant-type assistance will contribute to the preparation and implementation of a number of investments of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its financial partners for operations concerning sustainable transport and energy.

The first technical assistance titled “North Macedonia: Rail Corridor VIII, Phase 3 - Economic, E&S and GET assessment” will support the entire electrification works as well as the construction of one of the three sections of the rail Corridor VIII in North Macedonia, from Kumanovo to Deve Bair, at the Bulgarian border (88 km) financed by the EBRD with 94 million EUR. In particular, the CEI-funded technical assistance will assess physical climate risks related to the investment project, and provide recommendations for potential climate change adaptation measures as well as additional environmental and social due diligence.

The purpose of the technical assistance titled “OSHEE COVID-19 Response - Smart Grid Development Roadmap” is to review and analyse the equipment, facilities, performance, and operation of OSHEE - the largest Albanian state-owned energy company -  including the development of a smart grid action plan for the rehabilitation and modernisation of its network. This technical assistance is provided in the framework of a 70 million EUR loan from the EBRD to OSHEE, out of which 55 million EUR will be provided for liquidity gaps caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The third CEI-sponsored assistance, namely “Support for the Implementation of Renewable Energy Auctions in Montenegro” will provide assistance to the Montenegrin Ministry of Capital Investments in the preparation and implementation of competitive Renewable Energy auctions (RE). Envisaging an increase in the penetration of RE in Montenegro’s power system over a short to medium-term, the authorities have also requested specific assistance to improve the efficiency of the balancing cost arrangements for RE.

The “Feasibility study for Albania-Montenegro 110 kV overhead transmission line connection Dajc (Kosmac) - Briska Gora (Ulcinj)” will develop and assess two options for strengthening the transmission network between the two countries. The availability and stability of a new transmission network between the two countries is needed since there are numerous new private and institutional investors who have expressed an interest in implementing new renewable energy projects close to the border between Albania and Montenegro. The aim is to export the production towards the rest of Southeast Europe, or make use of the new submarine cable between Montenegro and Italy. 

Finally, the last technical assistance “Electrical Grid Expansion - Due Diligence & Advance Procurement” will target the Brcko District in Bosnia and Herzegovina and will provide a detailed environmental, social, technical and economic appraisal of a 10.3 million EUR investment by the EBRD to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions across the electrical grid of the District by improving energy efficiency, reducing losses, digitalising and enable renewable energy connections to the network. The CEI grant will also provide assistance to the District concerning advanced procurement, with the preparation of tender documents, tender evaluations as well as management of supplier contracts.

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