Montenegro has the potential to develop additional hydro and thermal power plants, given its abundance of rivers and streams, as well as solar and wind energy plants. Montenegro only uses approximately 20 percent of its hydro potential. To fully develop this sector, Montenegro will need to upgrade its transmission and distribution network.
The most important development project in the transmission system was the construction of a one-way underwater electricity cable to export power to Italy. The total investment was EUR 800 million, which included the development of a 433 kilometer- long tunnel approximately 1200 meters below the Adriatic Sea surface. The GoM began operation of the underwater electric transmission cable in December 2019.
HPP Komarnica – An investment of approximately EUR 250 million is required to develop the Komarcnica hydropower plant, which will use two 170 MW power generators with a combined annual production of 210 GWh. Extensive geotechnical and hydrological research has already been performed on the site, and the government has adopted a spatial plan for the development of a multipurpose water reservoir on the Komarnica River.
Solar power plants – Due to its sound geographical position, Montenegro is “rich” in solar radiation. Areas which enjoy the highest solar radiation are located in southern Montenegro (particularly the area around the cities of Bar and Ulcinj) and in the area around the capital city of Podgorica. There is also a growing interest in renting state-owned land for construction of on-ground installed solar power plants. In these instances, when an investor is interested in the construction of a PV power plant in a certain area, a public tender for a 30-year lease of state-owned land may be executed. The Ministry of Economy has, to date, issued over 20 energy permits for the installation of rooftop PV plants with installed power of up to 1 MW. Their combined installed power is around 10,5 MW, while planned annual production is around 13,8 GWh.
Two wind farms in Montenegro – Krnovo, with a capacity of 72MWh; and Mozura, with a capacity of 46MWh – are currently in operation.
Investment in Oil and Gas – In late 2013, Montenegro invited international oil and gas companies to bid on exploration licenses for offshore blocks based on seismic data which showed favorable conditions for hydrocarbon deposits off of Montenegro’s deep-water coast. The GoM has signed concession agreements with two consortia: the Italian-Russian consortium Eni/Novatek for four blocks and the Greek-British consortium Energean oil/Mediterranean oil & gas for one block. It is expected that the exploration will begin during 2020, and several more licensing rounds are foreseen in 2021 for additional exploration blocks.
The 2014 Montenegrin Energy Development Strategy estimates that, by 2030, up to 7 billion barrels of oil and 425 billion cubic meters of natural gas could be discovered along the coast. Further research regarding these resources is necessary to confirm the capacity levels. The search for oil and gas, along with the production cycle, consists of several phases: exploration, appraisal, development, production, and abandonment. Montenegro does not possess the necessary technology, nor does it have the experience, to produce oil or gas. Furthermore, successful energy exploration must also factor in the environmental impact of operations, as coastal tourism comprises a significant percentage of national revenues.
Montenegro does not currently possess the gas distribution network or the necessary technology to produce oil or gas, which may represent an investment opportunity. In March 2020, the Minister of Economy announced the government’s intention to begin importing U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) via the Port of Bar.