EU experts: The controversial energy projects of the Government of Montenegro

, NGOs

Criticism that NGO sector addresses to Government’ plans for the construction of power facilities, has received now the verification of European experts who implemented the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the draft national strategy on climate changes by 2030th stating worrying potential consequences of these projects.

Strategic Impact Assessment (for the draft national strategy on climate change by 2030), which was implemented by EU experts, Government’ plans for a hydro power plant on Moraca river consider controversial because its realization could worsen floods and droughts, and that there is a high risk of earthquakes that could lead to a breakthrough dam and threaten the capital.

Noting that the hydropower project on the Moraca is particularly controversial, he writes that “energy development strategy does not take into account potential impacts of climate change on water availability in the future, which could jeopardize the capacity of electricity generation.”

“Irregular cascade could worsen floods and droughts … Besides, Montenegro belongs to a region that is particularly prone to natural hazards. The risk of major earthquakes is increasing in the southern direction downstream where the reservoirs are planned. The risks of an earthquake must be taken into account because Podgorica is located downstream from the reservoir”, says the document.

“The current plan for the construction of HPP Moraca is inapplicable and obsolete”, says Natasa Kovacevic from the environmental NGO Green

“It is known that the planned hydropower plant is located in seven seismological zones, namely, very unstable and uncharted territory. And, when it comes to floods, the input factors have become so variable that should provide much better data and much better protection against risk, and then assess the impact on the environment and health of citizens”, says Natasa Kovacevic.

“When the public construction of hydropower plants on Moraca was current, it was made a detailed spatial plan with an accompanying strategic environmental assessment, but in that moment we thought that additional inputs for developing the strategic environmental impact assessment were needed, so it has been also done special biodiversity study that should register the best possible solutions and alternatives in order that hydropower plant has the lowest possible impact on the environment and to eliminate all harmful and negative consequences and harmful effects”, says the director of the Government Directorate for Environment and Climate Change Ivana Vojinovic.

Among the reactions of NGO sector, which is so far the only who has reacted, also Director of NGO “Ozon” Aleksandar Perovic came out openly, who said that the Government ignored useful information from national reports on climate change and study.

“There is a lack of a clear vision and decisive reaction of the Government, which seems not to understand the disastrous consequences of ignoring the problem”, Perovic said.

European experts who implemented the Strategic Environmental Assessment for the draft national strategy on climate change by 2030th, which is currently at the public hearing, warn of high levels of emissions from industrial plants which have outdated technology, where, probably, first of all, it refers to KAP and Zeljezara, and it suggested shutdown of the current Thermal power plant Pljevlja which is otherwise scheduled by 2023rd, and designing the future second block should be harmonized with the EU policy that advocates avoiding of coal use.

Natasa Kovacevic of NGO “Green Home” says that Montenegro, instead of insisting on electricity production of from coal, should accept the trend of exploitation of alternative, renewable energy sources.

The director of the Government Directorate for Environment and Climate Change Ivana Vojinovic says that one cannot say that the EU demands the abandonment of coal exploitation, but the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and official of the leading party DPS and a member of the Parliamentary Committee for Ecology Filip Vukovic believes that Montenegro, first of all, should care about its energy independence.

“Strategic or regular assessments of the environmental impact are made to avoid certain problems later in the technology of the plant or other object operation. Thermal power plant can solve 99 percent of problems. All except carbon dioxide that is emitted also by domestic animals, rotting wood in the forest, people, cars … which means that it is an ideal subject for political scoring. And, secondly, I had
repeatedly the opportunity to meet EU experts in Brussels who mostly work in the interests of certain lobbies that are not always well-intentioned when it comes to energy because it leads one country to dependence on”, Vukovic says.

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