Macedonia: EBRD & WB HPP financed project under Green NGOs opposition, planned hydropower exploitation in Mavrovo National Park

, SEE Energy News

Currently Macedonia is intensively promoting the development of renewable energy sources and storage on its territory in order to decrease the carbon intensity of the Macedonian generation sector and to enhance the security of supply.

To this end it planned to have about 22 dams constructed in the Mavrovo National Park area alone. 20 of them are small scale hydro power and storage projects and two of them – the Hydro power projects “Boskov Most” and “Lukovo Pole” are large scale enterprises.

Out of the planned 22 projects so far two small scale hydro power plants have already been constructed.

Boskov Most hydro power plant is to be located near the town of Debar in the upper Mala Reka valley in the southernmost part of Mavrovo National Park. The Project intends to utilize the tributaries that combine to make up the river Mala Reka and will include a dam(33 meters high) and reservoir and the construction of a tunnel and headrace from the reservoir to th e hydro power plant near the village of Tresonce.

Total capacity shall be about 70MW and the annual generation is forecast to be around 118 GWh.

Main source of funding for this dam project is the EBRD –the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In November 2011 the EBRD approved a 65 million EUR credit to the project promoter ELEM for the implement ation of the project. The overall project costs are estimated to be 107 million EUR.

About 80% of the project will be situated in the territory of the Mavrovo National Park.

Lukovo Pole hydropower plant is planned to be constructed close to the Macedonian border with Kosovo. The main funding source for this project is the World Bank.

The project comprises on the one hand the construction of an about 20 kilometers long covered feeder channel, running slope parallel, to transfer water from Korab catchment to Lukovo Pole storage and Crn Kamen river and an about 70 meter high dam at Lukovo Pole that will have a storage capacity of about 39 million cubic meters, and on the other hand additionally a small hydropower project (Crn Kamen) of about 5 MW downstream of Lukovo Poleshall be constructed.

The Lukovo Pole project shows many similarities with Boskov Most. The water will be diverted from several tributaries to the Radika River, which will be channeled to the reservoir through pipe system.

The hydropower exploitation plan for the Mavrovo National Park, and specifically the before mentioned two large scale hydropower plants have the potential to cause significant negative environmental impacts both during construction and operation periods. Large scale civil works, material sourcing, and operation of heavy machinery and plant will have strong impacts on local fauna and flora. During the operation period the diversion of water from streams and creeks at the surface into canals and tunnels may change the local hydrology and the water quality status of the affected rivers. Furthermore it may have severe lasting negative impacts on habitats and resident species in the project areas and beyond.

The sensitivity and vulnerability of the project area is obvious due to the mere fact that it is under protection as National Park based on the areas’ ecological significance.

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