North Macedonia secures $85 mln from international climate fund for coal phase-out

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On Wednesday (22 March), the governing board of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), a multilateral low-cost finance climate fund for developing countries, approved an 85 million US dollar (around 78.6 million euros) investment plan presented by North Macedonia’s government to transition away from coal.

With this approval, CIF has delivered the first funding window as part of North Macedonia’s Just Energy Transition Investment Platform, launched at COP28. This platform includes a coal phase-out in North Macedonia by 2030, in line with the country’s self-defined Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

“The Climate Investment Fund’s holistic support through the Accelerating Coal Transition Investment Program is a cornerstone for the Just Energy Transition Investment Platform. It is a starting point to accelerate a shift from coal- to renewable-based energy generation, deliver just transition for coal-reliant communities, and foster new economic activities driven by the green transition,” said Talat Xhaferi, Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia. “The programme will help unlock investment at scale for Macedonian clean energy, infrastructure and human capital, with powerful demonstration effects for our economy.”

At full implementation, North Macedonia’s ACT investment plan is expected to generate almost 1:7 co-financing by 2030, with over 591 million US dollars (546 million euros) to be invested by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank Group, and the public and private sectors.

North Macedonia could save over 13 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2038 with this plan, CIF said in a press release. CIF funding is expected to enable 400 MW of additional installed renewable energy capacity and 100 MW of energy storage to ensure energy security.

The country is expected to invest in human capital, promoting skills development and access to alternative livelihoods to ensure a just transition with an estimated 3,000 direct beneficiaries. Currently, North Macedonia is heavily reliant on energy imports and its two main coal-fired thermal power plants (Bitola and Oslomei).

North Macedonia’s CIF funding is part of a 2.2 billion US dollar (around 2 million euros) Accelerating Coal Transition (ACT) investment programme, a first-of-its-kind multilateral platform supporting a transition away from coal and toward clean energy utilising concessional finance in key middle-income countries.

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