SEE, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro: Construction of new HPPs & TPPs under pressure from NGOs

24. March 2015. / News Serbia Energy

Numerous non-governmental organizations that are active in SEE countries are the loudest opponents of construction of several important energy facilities, necessary for the stability of the energy system in the region.

Non-governmental organization CEE Bankwatch Network with its local partners for years has been protesting against potential investments in the construction of coal-fired plants. In the latest report released by the network of international organizations for monitoring of financial institutions – CEE Bankwatch Network, the conclusion is that countries of the Energy Community could face several hundred million euros of losses due to outdated energy infrastructure. They expect from Energy Community to provide clear guidelines for clean and cheap energy investments in the Member States.

Members of Bankwatch protested several times against investments in Serbia financed by the EBRD and KfW bank. They were against the construction of the thermal power plant Kolubara B, against the new block in Kostolac, and TPP Štavalj.

Serbia plans to continue using coal, with 2.85 GW of capacity that will be added in the future through the following units: Kolubara B (2 blocks x 375 MW), Kostolac B3 (350 MW), Nikola Tesla B3 and B4 (700MW), Kovin (2 blocks x 350 MW) and Štavalj (350 MW). Of these projects, the construction of TPP Kostolac B3 is the only certain investment for now.

Centre for Environment from Banja Luka had objections to the Study of the environmental impact of thermal power plant Ugljevik 3. In their opinion, the study does not provide minimum information for the assessment of pollution that will be caused by thermal power plant, but instead contains information about the current status and general information about potential pollution, which can be applied to any power plant. The attitude of the organization is that low quality studies of environmental impact were made also for TPP Stanari, for small hydro power plants in the national park Sutjeska and for HPP Medna on Sana. From the Center for Environment an appeal was made to declare as invalid the estimation of the impact of TPP Ugljevik 3 and for drafting of a new study. Another project which the Center for Environment considers as problematic, and which is already considerably in the process of realization is the power plant on lignite “Stanari” in BiH, property of the company “EFT”. For the construction of TPP was obtained an environmental permit which allows two to three times higher emissions of SO2, NOx and dust than predicted by the valid binding law adopted by the Energy Community.

Ministry of Spatial Planning, Civil Engineering and Ecology of Republika Srpska suspended the approval process for the Study of the environmental impact of small hydropower plants on the river Hrčavka, in the National Park Sutjeska, until the adoption of the Spatial Plan of the National Park Sutjeska. Investor “Drina Hydro Energy” from Ugljevik had planned to build five small hydropower plants, two on Sutjeska and three on Hrčavka.

Activists of NGO Greenpeace in Croatia for a long time have been protesting against coal-fired TPP Plomin C. Greenpeace together with the Green action have been fighting against the project for years. In their opinion, the electricity produced in that thermal power plant, especially in Croatia being a country that does not have its own coal reserves, will be twice as expensive as the electricity that is currently available on the market. This agreement, according to the opinion of representatives of the Green Action, can be realized only if the foreign investor is guaranteed a long-term purchase of electricity, which will be detrimental to the Croatian consumers and citizens.

The Organization announced that Marubeni has already been convicted for corruption in several major energy projects. They point out that the Croatian Electric Power Industry guarantees to the company with such a reputation to purchase at least 50 percent of the electricity produced in TPP Plomin C, in the next 25 years. Green Action opposes the conclusion of this harmful contract, asking for the withdrawal from negotiations with Marubeny, and from the project Plomin C as well. Green Action was also against the construction of thermal power plant in Ploče. This project, in addition to being economically unprofitable like TPP Plomin C, would have a huge impact on the health of the population and would contribute to global climate change, was claimed by the organization. In the referendum held in January, more than 90 percent of citizens from Ploče voted against the plant construction. Local referendum on the construction of TPP Plomin C will be held on March 28.

The organization ORaH also opposes the projects Plomin C and Ploče, because in these projects there is going to be a change in spatial plans in order to implement “a decision about something called strategic project.” HEP’s obligation to purchase 50 percent of the electricity produced in TPP Plomin C is contrary to the rules of internal electricity market of the European Union, estimates ORaH. This organization also opposes the construction of gas power plant in Osijek. The Government’s decision to pursue the partner for hydroelectric power plant Kosinj-Senj is being criticized, because “the project should be declared strategic and financial resources should be provided for it to remain in national property”.

The organization Green Home from Montenegro is opposing the construction of the second block of thermal power plant in Pljevlja. The contractor on this project should be known by the end of the year. Green Home’s evaluation is that the Study on the impact of pollution from TPP Pljevlja on the health of the inhabitants of that city hasn’t been done, so far. To answer the question of what Montenegro wins and what losses with the construction of this power plant, an extensive economic, environmental and analysis on health effects should be conducted, is the conclusion of this organization.

Green Home and CEE Bankwatch Network estimated that a serious risk for TPP Pljevlja represents the inability to comply with the latest EU standards on pollution. Only one of seven preliminary bids is in line with the EU directive on industrial emissions, and none of the bids reaches the levels of efficiency relating to the best available technologies. These weaknesses represent high economic risks due to the additional investment required to achieve the compliance with the Directive on industrial emissions when it becomes mandatory in Montenegro, was said in a statement signed by the two organizations.

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