Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia: New environmental permit issued for HPP Buk Bijela

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After the environmental permit for the Buk Bijela hydroelectric power plant was revoked last summer, the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and Ecology has recently issued a new permit, which is valid for five years.

The Aarhus Center of BiH challenged before the District Court in Banja Luka the Decision on renewed ecological permit for HPP Buk Bijela, after which it was annulled.

In the meantime, the company HPP Buk Bijela ceased to exist, which was integrated into the newly established Hydro Power Systems (HES) Gornja Drina, to which the Ministry has now issued a new environmental permit.

“It is given to the responsible person of” HES Gornja Drina “Foča, environmental permit for the HPP Buk Bijela plant on the Drina River, with an installed capacity of 93.52 MW. The plants and installations for which the environmental permit is issued are gravity concrete dam, reservoir and machine building, ”sated the decision issued at the end of 2019.

In explaining the Decision, the Ministry recalled that the previous ecological permit for HPP Buk Bijela was revoked and that in August they requested the initiation of an environmental impact assessment procedure for that hydroelectric power plant, since the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro was on August 1, 2019. stated its intention to participate in the environmental impact assessment process.

HPP Buk Bijela, however, proved that the public in Montenegro was informed about the environmental impact assessment process conducted in 2013, and the Serbian Ministry of Environmental Protection stated that the procedure for issuing a new environmental permit could be based on an environmental impact assessment from 2013.

Thus, the decision to issue an environmental permit for the Buk Bijela HPP was adopted without implementing a new environmental impact assessment procedure.

This time, the Aarhus Center of BiH submitted comments that it had emphasized earlier, but said in the Ministry that it was noticed that most of the comments related to the Environmental Impact Study, which was approved in 2013 and is not the subject of this procedure.

We remind that a memorandum on the construction of Buk Bijela HPP was signed in July 2017 with the Chinese State Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation (AVIC-ENG), expecting financing from Chinese state-owned banks.

However, a year ago there was a turnaround and after a joint session of the Government of Republika Srpska and Serbia it was said that the two countries, in addition to joint construction of hydro power plants Foca and Peacocks, will also build the hydro power plant Buk Bijela.

A concession for the construction and use of Buk Bijela HPP, worth KM 382.4 million (EUR 195 million), was awarded three years ago to the ERS and the HPP Drina.

Republika Srpska Prime Minister Radovan Viskovic said at the end of January that he and the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, would soon have to officially begin work on the construction of Buk Bijela HPP.


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