Because the planned quota of 20,000 working hours in a regime with high environmental pollution has been spent, coal-fired thermal power plant Pljevlja is facing a big challenge to shut down in mid-January next year, two years before the deadline. Montenegrin Minister of Capital Investments Mladen Bojanic said that immediately before the Ministerial Meeting of the Energy Community, he learned that TPP Pljevlja is facing a challenge to be shut down soon.
Minister Bojanic also criticized the former Government on leading the catastrophic policy regarding small hydropower plants (SHPP). As a result of such dubious granting of concessions, in addition to destroying the living environment of many citizens, the new Government is facing compensation claims in the amount of, for now, more than 50 million euros. Montenegrin new Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic said earlier that the new Government will permanently ban the construction of SHPPs in Montenegro and that all existing concession agreements will be reviewed and revised.
In October, non-governmental organization Green Home called on the Ministry of Economy and state-owned power utility EPCG to reveal information and present a plan for TPP Pljevlja after the expiration of its allowed operational hours, which could happen by the end of 2020. The statement from the NGO said that, according to the calculations of the Energy Community from July this year, TPP Pljevlja will spend its allowed 20,000 operational hours in November, after which the plant must be closed. Its operation can continue only if it harmonizes with the standards and the Directive on industrial emissions for new power plants, which will not happen even with the planned reconstruction.
According to the previous statements from the Montenegrin Government, between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2019, the number of used operational hours amounts to a total of 13,809 hours, while the remaining unused working hours remain at 6,191. In this regard, EPCG in its investment plan for the period 2019-2023, recognized the environmentally-oriented reconstruction of the existing block of TPP Pljevlja as a priority project. In June, EPCG signed a contract for the reconstruction of coal-based thermal power plant Pljevlja with a consortium led by Chinese Dongfang Electric Company (DEC). The deadline for the completion of works is 39 months for the date of signing the contract. The selected consortium offer to perform the reconstruction for around 54.4 million euros including VAT. Project implementation is scheduled to take place in the period 2019-2021, after which the operation of TPP Pljevlja will be enabled to continue for at least 20 years. Reconstruction will assure compliance with the requirements and adherence to the strictest environmental protection parameters as envisaged under the latest EU Decision 2017/1442.