Montenegro: Government Fitting Škoda’s Bid into Planning Documents for Thermal Power Plant Pljevlja

, SEE Energy News

The Government of Montenegro is obliged to prepare an entirely new Detailed Spatial Plan (DSP) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Second Power Unit of the Thermal Power Plant (TPP) in Pljevlja and to resubmit them to public debate so that the professional and interested public could give their comments, because the Electric Power Industry of Montenegro (EPCG) has changed the technical parameters for the construction of the new thermal power plant which differ to a significant extent from those presented during the public debate organized in May 2014.

Namely, the basis for the preparation of the draft DSP and SEA which were in the public debate was the Feasibility Study for the Construction of the Second Power Unit of the TPP which, together with the Environmental Impact Assessment study, a Slovenian consortium led by the company ”Esotech“ from Velenje prepared for the needs of EPCG at the end of 2012.

To this day, EPCG has not published the feasibility study, but they are hiding its content, whereas the Research Center MANS has come into possession of the Environmental Impact Assessment study from 2012, in which it is explicitly stated that the chosen capacity of the new thermal power plant amounting to 220 MW is optimal from the aspect of available coal reserves in the narrow area of Pljevlja basin.

However, at the beginning of this year, the state-owned energy company concluded a new contract with the company “Ecotech“ from Velenje for the preparation of Preliminary Design for the Construction of the Second Power Unit and a new Environmental Impact Assessment study, but based on completely new technical characteristics. The capacity of the Second Power Unit amounting to 250 MW was offered as a parameter, although only three years earlier, the same company had already established that, from the aspect of coal reserves, the optimal capacity of the power unit was 220 MW.

This calls into question the entire previous procedure in which the Czech company Škoda Praha was selected, having offered to build a power unit with the capacity of 254 MW. Now, efforts are obviously made to fit in their bid with this new document.

The Slovenian company should prepare the stipulated documents within 90 days following the date when EPCG submits to them the terms of reference and the urban planning and technical conditions, which is expected after the adoption of DSP. It is particularly worrying that, in the technical documentation on the basis of which “Esotech“ should prepare the preliminary design, it is stated that the aim of preparing this document is to obtain the construction permit for building the Second Power Unit of TPP in Pljevlja.

From everything above said, the conclusion is that the Government must start preparing new planning documents and organize a new public debate, which is also its obligation according to the Law on Planning and Construction which prescribes that a repeated public debate should be organized if the planning document is significantly different from the original draft.

In their comments to the draft DSP and SEA, MANS has indicated that these are illegal and inconsistent documents, which leave many issues open, whereas to a great extent, they are based on manipulative and incomplete data, that they did not confirm that the Project of Construction of the Second Power Unit was an economically viable project and that it was in the public interest, as well as that the construction of the new thermal power plant would have far-reaching adverse consequences to the environment of Pljevlje and the population health, which would lead to an enormous resettlement of people from this area.

141,000 Euros More for New Studies Concerning the Second Power Unit of TPP Pljevlja

EPCG has concluded the latest contract with“Esotech“ for the price of 141 thousand euros, so the question arises whether the money on the basis of contracts previously concluded with this company was spent purposefully. MANS still does not have the data on the amounts of contractual arrangements with the Slovenians from 2012.

The fact that, at the beginning of March this year, the state-owned energy company concluded a contract with the company “Geo-technics Plus“ from Nikšić which refers to the geotechnical investigations of terrain for the needs of construction of the Second Power Unit, also shows that the state-owned energy company is not too interested in public attitudes regarding the controversial project of the Second Power Unit and that they continue with its implementation despite a series of open issues. The above mentioned contract is worth 76.5 thousand.

In addition, at the end of last year, EPCG announced a public invitation regarding technical, legal, economic and financial consulting with respect to the reorganization of the Thermal Power Plant Pljevlja and Coal Mine, the estimated value of which had been 450 thousand euros, but this procurement was later suspended, transmits

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