Montenegro exclusive: Energy traders lobby block investments in large HPPs claim Ministry official

28. October 2014. / SEE Energy News

Electricity is one of the products which Montenegro can export without any problems. Macroeconomic models show that the investment in an energy facility entails an increase in the gross domestic product by the amount which is larger than the value of the invest…

Electricity is one of the products which Montenegro can export without any problems. Macroeconomic models show that the investment in an energy facility entails an increase in the gross domestic product by the amount which is larger than the value of the investment. The second block of the TPP ”Pljevlja“ is a very important facility for the electric power system of Montenegro for various reasons, and the hydropower system “Buk Bijela“, as a Project of crucial importance for the further development of the Montenegrin energy sector, should not be a “done deal”. Back in 1979, the decision was made about the construction of HPPs on Morača, which were to be constructed as a “continuity facility”, Nikola Jablan, adviser at the Ministry of Economy.

Back in 1979, the authorities in Montenegro, as he said, made the decisions on constructing a HPP on Morača. In accordance with the then regulations, the HPP on Morača was supposed to be built as a “continuity facility”, which would be put into operation after the construction of the TPP ”Pljevlja“ had been finished. “As we know, the TPP ”Pljevlja“ was put into operation in 1982, but the “continuity facility” has not even been started. It is hard to find the reasons for such a big delay, because the generated energy could be sold, either in the country, or abroad (this is one of the few products that Montenegro can export without any problems”, said Jablan.

According to him, the economic analyses show that one gigawatt of electricity generated from domestic sources contributes to the increase in the GDP by 33.000 euros, and that the coefficient of correlation between the annual changes in the quantity of electricity generation and the real GDP growth rate amounts to 0.48 percent. In addition, the macroeconomic models show that the investment in an energy facility entails an increase in the GDP by the amount which is higher than the investment value.

“It is hard to deduce why one part of the public is against the investments in the energy sector, especially against the construction of large hydro and thermal power plants, if we consider the benefits. In my opinion, the biggest opponents are certain politicians and NGOs. The politicians assume attitudes and make decisions without serious discussions with experts and without a verified technical and economic documentation. The NGOs observe only environmental aspects, without taking into account the energy and economic aspects or they even marginalize them. They prefer small HPPs, the wind and solar power plants, not taking into consideration that the electricity from these sources is much more costly, and that, because of the maintenance of stability of the electric power system, big power plants should be built or rented, which is all going to be paid by the Montenegrin consumers in the end. I personally believe that a serious opponent is also the ”energy lobby of electricity  producers and traders from abroad, whose interest is contravened by the energy independence of Montenegro, and who, through their exponents in Montenegro, influence the Montenegrin public”, Jablan pointed out.

He believes that the system ”Buk Bijela“ is not a done deal, because the declaration on the protection of Tara can be revoked in the same manner as it was made.

“Why would one generation prevent a future one from implementing the best project in this part of Europe which, at this, is the most important and crucial for further development of the electric power system of Montenegro?! The declaration of 2004 suspended the umpteenth consecutive process of constructing the system ”Buk Bijela“ conducted by Montenegro and BIH, i.e. the Republic of Srpska. In this way, they disabled the construction of the HPPs ”Buk Bijela“ and ”Foča“, with the annual generation of 1.350 million kilowatt-hours and with the installed capacity of around 500 megawatts, one third of which belonged to Montenegro. But, more importantly, the Declaration disabled the valorisation of the hydropower potential of Tara, Piva and Morača, which represents more than one half of the total technically exploitable hydropower potential of Montenegro. We are talking about the annual production of 2.500 million kilowatt-hours of energy, the value of which, at the price that Italy is ready to pay to Serbia for the electricity of lower quality from its renewable resources, amounts to around 400 million euros annually. This amount represents only the value of the electricity which could be generated and it does not take into account the multiplicative effects, which, owing to such generation, Montenegro, its citizens and economy would achieve”, Jablan stressed.

It is interesting, he added, that those who made the declaration, or who actively participated in the campaign for its adoption, do not mind the roads and buildings, i.e. bridges, being built in the bed of Tara, although it is stated in the declaration that no interventions can be made along “the entire course of Tara, not only in the part of the canyon envisaged for submersion, but within the entire region the development of which rests on the canyon.

“I hope that Montenegro will soon revoke the declaration and reach the agreement with Serbia and BIH, i.e. RS, on the optimal utilization of the hydropower potential of Drina and Morača”, Jablan concluded.

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