Two non-governmental environmental organizations – Bankwatch Romania and Neuer Weg Association have won the case in which they requested the cancellation of construction permits for two hydropower plants on the Jiu river, a project initiated by state-owned electricity producer Hidroelectrica.
The hydropower project on the Jiu river obtained environmental approval in 2003, before Romania became a member of the European Union, when the environmental rules became much stricter. In 2005, the area where the hydropower plants were supposed to be built became a National Park and a Natura 2000 site of community interest. The organization claimed that the construction of HPPs would destroy the river, deeming that this would be the most damaging hydropower project ever implemented in Romania.
The project included the construction of two HPPs – Bumbesti and Dumitra and one small hydropower plant, with combined installed capacity of 65 MW and annual electricity output of 259 GWh. At the moment of court’s decision on the cancellation of the project, the construction of HPP Dumitra was 98 % completed, while HPP Bumbesti was 90 % completed. Hidroelectrica had invested about 155 million euros in this project.