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Renewable energy potential mapped in Nikšić municipality

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Energy from renewable sources from sustainable locations in the Nikšić Municipality alone could supply more than 200,000 Montenegrin households, as announced during the presentation of the results of the study “Mapping the Potential of Solar and Wind Energy in the Nikšić Municipality.”

The study, presented today in Podgorica, revealed that mitigating the negative effects of climate change and keeping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius are challenges faced by the entire world, as reported by Mina.

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“The first step on this path is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this regard, Montenegro has already committed to increasing the share of renewable energy sources to 50% in its gross energy consumption by 2030 and gradually phasing out the use of coal,” the statement said.

The study, led by the organizations Eko-tim and The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with the Nikšić Municipality, showed that without careful determination of space for energy transition from coal to renewable energy, such as solar and wind requiring significant space, a rapid transition could result in conflicts and harm the vulnerable nature, contribute to biodiversity crises, or jeopardize the cultural and social values of an area.

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To avoid potential conflicts, The Nature Conservancy has developed a smart mapping approach, including four steps to find optimal locations for wind and solar development with minimal potential impact on nature and people.

Guided by this approach, the study identified areas with the least conflict potential, simultaneously with medium or high development potential, resulting in a total sustainable area of approximately four square kilometers for wind energy and 50 square kilometers for solar energy.

The potential capacity is estimated to be around 40 MW for wind and an impressive 2.7 GW for solar.

“Together, these two sources could produce about 1,400 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electrical energy, nearly the value of record production at the Pljevlja thermal power plant in 2020, accounting for about half of the total electricity produced in Montenegro that year. This would also cover the total consumption of the residential sector in 2022 (1,380 GWh), which includes 380,000 users, including over 200,000 households,” the statement said.

Diana Milev Čavor from Eko-tim stated that Nikšić, the territorially largest municipality, was the subject of their study aimed at helping Montenegro keep pace with European Union countries, which, under the REPowerEU plan, are required to quickly designate areas for accelerated development of renewable energy sources.

“The estimate we have reached, that only one-third of suitable locations can replace the entire production of the Pljevlja thermal power plant, is a clear sign that these are data on which Montenegro can develop a strategy for its rapid and responsible green transition,” Milev Čavor added.

Igor Vejnović from The Nature Conservancy said that the result of this pilot study confirmed that Nikšić has a realistic potential for the development of low-conflict renewable energy sources.

“The study can further be used to identify new locations, both by potential investors and by spatial planning authorities, which is why we made it publicly available,” Vejnović said.

He mentioned that they have proven that such an approach is feasible, necessary, and timely.

“Therefore, our next step will be to apply the experiences gained through this pilot study to the entire territory of Montenegro,” Vejnović added.

The contribution of local experts and stakeholders was crucial. During the study, more than 40 individuals from various groups, including local communities and independent experts, as well as municipal and government institutions, were consulted.

“The results of these consultations have been considered in the study to ensure that it is relevant and applicable,” the statement concludes.

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