Projects for construction of two hydropower plants on the river Lim, “Brodarevo 1” and “Brodarevo 2”, near the border with Montenegro, have been queued for years. In the middle of last year, the Administrative Court annulled the energy permit to Canadian company REV for the construction of the hydropower plants. The court decided in favor of the non-governmental organizations that seem to participate in the process of giving energy permits.
As was specified in the media last year, it was a series of lawsuits because of irregularities that were present in the activities of the Canadian company. Only two months before the decision of the Administrative Court, Minister of Energy, Zorana Mihajlovic, signed the Decision granting approval for the Study on the assessment of environmental impacts of hydropower facilities “Brodarevo 1” and “Brodarevo 2”. But soon after that was taken a final decision on which, as they say, the company has no right to appeal. From this company claimed that the allegations are unfounded.
To remind you, the Canadians started the preparation of the technical documentation seven years ago, and a year later received the state energy permit to invest 146 MEUR in the construction of two hydropower plants, with power of 59 megawatts, which would produce 230 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year.
The accusations were coming from representatives of non- governmental organizations from Serbia, Montenegro, but also from the residents who live in the district of the Lim valley where the construction of hydropower plants was planned. As was stated in the charges, the construction of two hydropower stations would cause enormous damage to the environment, the people, the living world and would have a huge impact on climate change.
The dispute arose between two neighboring countries, Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegrin side was not informed of activities undertaken over plans for the construction of these facilities. Also disputable was the fact that none of the Montenegrin officials did not participate in the public hearings that were held during the past year.
As previously was mentioned, notice of opportunity to participate in cross-border consultations, in accordance with an international treaty on the intention of the hydropower plants construction was not sent to the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro. Also Study on Environmental Impact Assessment of construction project of hydropower facilities, “Brodarevo 1” and “Brodarevo 2” not been submitted to them. That is why in the Ministry decided to request study of the environmental impact and other documents in connection with the construction of HPP on the river Lim and close to the border with Montenegro from the representative of the Espoo Convention in Serbia.
Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a transboundary context – Espoo obliges contracting parties, individually or jointly, to take all legislative, administrative or other measures under the Convention in relation to the proposed activities that may cause significant transboundary impacts, to define procedures for environmental impact assessment that provide public participation and preparation of documentation on the environmental impacts assessment.
Montenegro and Serbia are contracting parties to the Espoo Convention, on this basis they are obliged to share information and consultation in the case when cross-border project may cause certain adverse and negative effects on the environment of another state. Minister for Energy, Development and the Environment Protection, Zorana Mihajlovic has publicly stated that during the power plants construction also the Montenegrin side will be included. What apparently did not happen.
In research projects, land acquisition and other preparatory work, the company REV has invested around 17 million euros. In researches, projects, land acquisition and other preparatory work, the company REV has invested around 17 MEUR.
Are these possible answers to the question why did fail the plans to build two hydropower projects, and whether this is just one example of how environmental activists, when they are joined together and united, can affect decisions on the construction or non-construction power plants ? It is obvious that the problem is between the Governments of two countries and that this dispute certainly had an impact on the future course of events. There are several major projects in the energy sector currently in our country, which are pending. It seems that Serbia still is not a suitable ground for foreign investors.
Serbia needs kilowatts from renewable energy sources, but in this case, as stated representatives of environmental movements, would not have happened, because the construction of hydropower plants would significantly breached the environmental situation in the region. Following these decisions, the Canadian company withdrew from the project. They announced last year that they were ready to appeal the verdict, because the charges were baseless, but currently there is no official information of such activities.
Source; Serbia Energy