Hydro power plants projects in the Balkans and cross border effects, Republika Srpska halted on HPP Gornji Horizonti

11. December 2012. / SEE Energy News

Croatian Ministry of Environment and Nature Croatia requested from Republika Srpska to amend the study for the construction of HPP Dabar, or the project “Gornji Horizonti”, which once again brings the whole project into question. Hydro power mega-project “Gornji Horizonti” consists of complex and large hydro-power interventions on Trebisnjica river basin in the area of eastern Herzegovina in Republic Srpska. The system consists of seven hydro power plants, six reservoirs and canals and tunnels which collect the water from Trebisnjica river basin for energy purposes.

Specifically, from Croatia they made it clear that they think the current study is incomplete and does not contain all the necessary information about the overall impact of the project on the environment.

“We must not allow for the ecosystem and water in the delta of the Neretva to be jeopardized. Moreover, we must do everything to preserve it and improve its state in the future” said the Croatian Minister of Environment and Nature, Mihael Zmajlović, confirming that they requested the amendment.

Protecting the environment

After reviewing the “Study on the impact on the environment of HPP Dabar” which was submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BH, Zmajlović immediately responded, finding that it lacks a lot of important details.

“We found that the analysis of particular contents are missing and based on the existing content it is not possible to confirm that the study is complete and fully professionally grounded,” Zmajlović said.

The Ministry evaluated that the study did not fully assess the impact on the environment, as it should have according to the project task. They believe that rivers do not recognize borders and there is no other option than the integrated approach, from source to mouth. They also say that not all potential impacts on the nature were considered and pointed out that the study did not take into account all the potential impacts on the biodiversity of the cross-border area as a whole with regard to the activities of the locals who depend on such biodiversity. They think that study in this form is neither professionally based nor relevant. They point out that under the changed water regime to which interventions in HPP Dabar would lead to, the study must consider the impact on economic activity in the delta of Neretva on agriculture, hunting, navigability, accumulation management and water evacuation method in case of upstream water waves, shellfish, effect of salinity due to the reduction of the delta freshwater flows and other activities. Implementation of the proposed project, the Ministry noted, could lead to significant disruptions in water regimes and reduce the amount of water in the basin of Neretva, including the delta. The study does not provide specific information and does not comprehend the consequences on habitat, flora and fauna of the area of the delta which depends on the situation and developments in the upstream part of Neretva river basin. Together with Hutovo blato, part of the delta in Croatia makes a complete ecosystem which should be viewed as such regarding negative impacts.

Hydro power megaproject

Hydro power mega-project “Gornji Horizonti” consists of complex and large hydro-power interventions on Trebisnjica river basin in the area of eastern Herzegovina in Republic Srpska. The system consists of seven hydro power plants, six reservoirs and canals and tunnels which collect the water from Trebisnjica river basin for energy purposes. The problem that united Neretva valley united is that Trebišnjica, once the largest underground river in Europe, today paved in the length of 65 kilometers, does not have enough hydro potential.

Therefore, the Electric Power Industry of RS decided to forcefully move additional two billion cubic meters of water annually from Neretva, which, experts say, could make a salt desert out of fertile Neretva valley. Electric Power Industry of Croatia has been interested in the whole project for a long time since they would receive electricity from future hydro power plants but, as indicated above only if all ecological standards are met.

The Federation government has not given a positive opinion on the study of environmental impact assessment and therefore it did not consent to the implementation of other activities within this project. Let us recall, there was a very severe reaction from BH Presidency member Bakir Izetbegovic, to the meeting between Prime Minister of RS Aleksandar Džombić and former Croatian Economy Minister Radomir Cacic, where they discussed the construction of HPP Dubrovnik 2

According to him the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina is responsible for such agreements, and he warned of the disastrous environmental consequences of this project not only to BH, but to Croatia as well.

Professional opinion

Position of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature of  Croatia, appears to be just a continuation of what was earlier announced by the Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, clearly stating that prior to the approval of “Gornji Horizonti” comprehensive professional analysis would be conducted.

“The second phase of the project “Gornji Horizonti” will not be realized if environmental studies show that Neretva would become salty. We’ll see if that is so, the experts will have to say” he said during a recent session in the Croatian Parliament.

Source Serbia Energy Magazine

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