Mind the environmental gap in south east European electricity market plans, say civil society groups

14. February 2014. / SEE Energy News

The new version of the EU-backed Energy Community Treaty must ensure that EU environmental and climate standards apply in countries that want to export electricity to the Union, says CEE Bankwatch Network in its submission to the public consultation on the review of the Treaty, which officially closes today [1].

The goal of the Energy Community is to ensure a single energy market across EU countries and the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Moldova, but campaigners here argue that failure to include more relevant EU laws in the revised Treaty will result in carbon leakage [2] or biodiversity loss from poorly sited energy infrastructure such as large dams.

Countries wishing to join the EU will also face nearly insurmountable challenges bringing their energy infrastructure up to par on time if they do not speed up now, Bankwatch argues.

As part of its public submission on the future of the Treaty after 2016 [3], Bankwatch says that in order to clean up the air, water and soil around cities like Tuzla, Pristina and Pljevlja which suffer from serious health costs due to coal electricity generation [4], and to preserve the outstanding biodiversity value of the Energy Community countries [5], the following EU environmental Directives must be included in the revised Treaty and the Treaty’s Secretariat needs to be provided with means to monitor and enforce their implementation:

Industrial emissions and the use of best available techniques;
Air quality and cleaner air;
Environmental quality standards in the field of water policy;
Management of waste from extractive industries; and
Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.

Bankwatch energy co-ordinator Ioana Ciuta said: “Many of the energy projects being planned are climate-damaging lignite power stations like Kostolac B3 in Serbia or Pljevlja II in Montenegro or Ugljevik III in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But such projects are not just bad for the climate and people’s health, they’re  also riddled with attempts to bypass or bend tendering procedures.”

“Including the EU Directive on public procurement in the revised Energy Community Treaty would help rule out such instances of foul play,” added Ciuta.

Source; Bankwatch

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