Eight hydropower projects in Albania, Croatia and Macedonia financed with the funds provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have damaged biodiversity and are in urgent need of increased monitoring and restoration measures.
Small hydropower plants (SHPP) financed by the EBRD were built between 2013 and 2015, two of which are located in Albania – Rapuni and Ternove, five in Macedonia – Brajcino 1 and 2, Tresonce, Lipkovo and Bistrica 97-99, as well as Ilovac in Croatia. These power plants have affected endangered and endemic species and, in some cases, hampered local water sources.
The study shows that it should have been reasonably obvious that projects in ecologically sensitive areas, such as national parks, would have significant impacts on wildlife. Nevertheless, the European public banks decided to proceed relying on environmental impact studies of dubious quality that had played down potential effects. In some cases, financing sources remained a secret until recently, while in other cases funds were provided through local commercial banks. In most cases, there were serious violations of national laws, but the authorities have imposed fines on power plant’s operators in only one of the cases.