Western Balkan countries once again commit to clean energy development, as EU warns them about hydropower - Hydro Balkans
+44 207 394 30 90 (London)

Western Balkan countries once again commit to clean energy development, as EU warns them about hydropower

Main » News » Western Balkan countries once again commit to…

Western Balkan countries once again commit to clean energy development, as EU warns them about hydropower

Western Balkan countries are renewing their vows to switch to clean energy sources under joint statements and declarations. However, the EU is calling for caution when it comes to hydropower, warning that the construction of hydropower plants (HPP) must be in line with the sustainable development principles and the future EU requirements for countries in the region. At the same time, civil society organizations are calling for giving up on HPP construction over their adverse environmental impact.
The energy transition has been troubling all the governments in the region, and additional problems have occurred after citizens and the civil sector started rallying against the construction of small, but also large HPPs, which are renewable energy sources. There is also growing dissatisfaction with air pollution, largely caused by fossil fuels used in power plants, for household heating, and in transport.

The last meeting on these topics was held yesterday in Podgorica, where the energy and environment ministers of the Western Balkans signed a joint statement promising to switch to clean energy.

According to the Montenegrin government’s press release, these countries confirmed their ambition to encourage decarbonization, renewables and energy efficiency, which will strengthen the region’s path towards the EU.

Hahn: New HPPs must be in line with future EU obligations
At the meeting, Johannes Hahn, European commissioner for enlargement negotiations and neighborhood policy, said that transition to clean energy would create new jobs, savings in budgets and health benefits. He also addressed hydropower, noting that it is clearly not possible to build all 140 planned HPPs in the region.

Hahn said that everyone should respect a set of principles for sustainable hydropower. The first is that a priority for investments should be to rehabilitate existing plants to secure the megawatts that hydropower is already providing to the grids (half of generated power in 2016).

“This measure alone will not be enough, particularly if you want to improve the proportion of energy coming from renewable sources. So, when considering the construction of new plants, they must be built in line with your future EU obligations,” he noted.

He said that there are certain parts of the region where it is simply not possible to build HPPs without irreversibly damaging valuable ecosystems and sites of outstanding natural beauty.

That is why it is important to engage with stakeholders: it is not only good politics; it can save you money in the long term and is a legal obligation according to the EU acquis, he said. If any of these projects go ahead there will be obligatory Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, and that includes speaking to local communities and civil society, Hahn went on to say, noting that in a region, this automatically has to mean countries will also speak to their neighbors.

For his part, Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković said that the country will exceed the ambitiously set target for the share of renewables in final energy consumption by 2020, Mina reported.

“We are paying a high price for it, but we remain confident that this brave direction will prove to have been right in the medium term,” he said.

At the same time, Montenegrin Sustainable Development and Tourism Minister Pavle Radulović recalled that Montenegro has a strong hydropower potential, with more than 95 watercourses.

“So far, only 20% of this potential has been used. If we can manage to tap into the gift of nature we have in watercourses, but also wind and around 250 sunny days a year, our country will not be energy dependent in the future,” the minister said, adding that environmental protection regulations must be observed.

CSOs: Stop HPP construction on Morača river
Radulović’s announcement concerning the further use of hydropower was hardly welcomed by representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), which a day earlier, at a preparatory meeting organized by CSO Green Home ahead of the Ministerial Conference, called on the Montenegrin government to give up on the construction of HPPs on the Morača river over huge damage they would cause to the nature and the population.

They also recommended to invest more in wind farms, solar power plants, and other renewables less damaging for the environment.

Economy Minister Dragica Sekulić announced in early January that the preparation of documentation for fresh tendering to build HPPs on the Morača river would be launched.

Nataša Kovačević, executive director of Green Home, said that out of 16 solutions for HPPs on the Morača river, none would be cost-effective without changing the Tara river’s course into the Morača, which would be in dire contravention with the Watercourses Convention.

She said that the overhaul and improvement of energy efficiency of existing HPPs is justified, but that the construction of HPPs must be halted in protected areas with any level of international or national protection levels, including the Natura 2000 areas, nature reserves, important bird habitats, and connected river systems.

She noted that the further construction of small hydropower plants (SHPPs) must be stopped over the damage they cause to nature and the population, for minimal economic benefits.

Milija Čabarkapa, project officer at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Adria, believes that the non-transparent way procedures are implemented for the construction of HPPs on the Morača river is a cause for concern, as evidenced by the fact that the Economy Ministry has marked all documentation concerning the project confidential.

“And we all know that early participation of stakeholders in the decision-making processes is key for a project’s sustainability,” Čabarkapa said.

Source: Balkans Green Energy

MORE:

Serbia to invest 800 mln euro in overhaul of hydro power plants – report

Author: grendelkhan. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic. BELGRADE (Serbia), October 8 (SeeNews) – Serbian state-owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) plans to invest 800 million euro ($878.3 million) in the overhaul of hydro power plants across the country, news agency Tanjug reported. The investment will ensure the stability of electricity production from hydro power…


State-owned Hidroelectrica submits letter of intent for CEZ assets in Romania

Romania’s largest power producer Hidroelectrica, 80%-controlled by the state, has submitted a non-binding letter of intent for purchasing the assets of Czech utility group CEZ in Romania, Hidroelectrica CEO Bogdan Badea confirmed at an energy conference, according to Economica.net. The interest for the assets is high, CEZ speakesperson Ladislav Kriz said quoted by Profit.ro. CEZ…


Montenegro’s EPCG gets loan from Germany’s KfW for hydro plant overhaul

SARAJEVO (Reuters) – Montenegro power utility EPCG EPCG.MOT signed a 33 million euro ($36.5 million) loan deal with German state-owned development bank KfW [KFW.UL] on Wednesday to help fund the overhaul of three turbines at its 307 megawatt (MW) Perucica hydro power plant. The deal is a part of the KfW’s ongoing 80-million-euro Greening Public…


HPP BUK BIJELA

In March 2019 Serbia and Republika Srpska (RS) intend to jointly build the hydropower plant (HPP) Buk Bijela. The installed capacity of more than 180 MW, will equally contribute

to the energy stability of Serbia and the RS. HPP Buk Bijela will be built about 11.6 kilometres upstream from Foča. It is planned to be equipped with three hydro generators with

a total capacity of 93 MW, with the expected average annual electricity generation at around 330 GWh. The project would require an investment of EUR 193 million. Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) is currently reviewing the project for HPPs Buk Bijela, to be followed by determining the pace of implementation.

OVERHAUL OF DJERDAP 1,2 HPPS

At the end of 2017, EP S announced its intention to overhaul 10 units of HPP Đerdap 2 over 10 years, to help ex tend the plant ’s lifespan and boost its capacity by 50 MW. EPS and Siloviye Mashiny are cooperating on the overhaul of HPP Đerdap 1. The overhaul began in 2009. In Jul y 2018, the t wo companies signed a contract on the modernization of the A2 and A3 units in or der to complete the revitalization of the entire HPP in 2021.

CONSTRUCTION OF 2 SMALL HYDROPOWER PLANTS

EPS (Serbian state-owned power utility) plans the construction of 2 small hydropower plants on existing dams – SHPP Celije and SHP P Rovni. The project is a part of the programme for reconstruction of SHPPs through the loan of EBRD. The programme encompasses the reconstruction of 15 SHP Ps with total installed capacity of 18 MW. The project also includes the supply of electrical and mechanical equipment and their installation. Once the tender documents are signed, the works will be completed within 62 weeks.