Numerous environmental problems related to the construction of HPP Komarnica in Montenegro14. September 2020. /
One of the most important warnings that the parliamentary majority in the Montenegrin Parliament ignored and adopted the Detailed Spatial Plan (DPP) for the new artificial lake comes from geologists. Earlier research indicates a fault that could drain the water.
In a conversation with the Center for Investigative Journalism of Montenegro (CIN-CG), the residents of Piva and Savnica municipalities announced strong resistance to the construction of an accumulation that should drain clear rivers, whose beds are clearly visible from several hundred meters high surrounding hills. The DPP points out that this HPP will flood the Pridvorica canyon and part of the Komarnica canyon, while preserving the most attractive Nevidio canyon.
“In addition to the river ecosystem, which will be completely altered in the length of 13.7 km and 16.7 km upstream of the dam facility, the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems and associated habitats, up to 811 meters above sea level, will also be destroyed due to immersion “, the document reads.
It is estimated that HPPs in Komarnica will produce 231.8 gigawatt hours per year. The estimated value of the 168 megawatt-hour power plant is 246.53m euros. In the Government’s third package of socio-economic measures due to the corona virus pandemic, 102.9 million euros are included, which EPCG, as a concessionaire, will invest in this HPP by 2024.
The warnings of the geological engineer and MP Strahinja Bulajić and his colleague Srdjan Milić, that the geotechnical conditions for the construction of the dam were not met, were not understood by the ruling majority. Bulajic warned of the geological study from 2011, which requires additional research.
“You have a fault zone in the left wing, a kilometer, a kilometer and a half long, 15 meters wide, which is completely empty. That says a lot to geologists, hydrogeologists, especially engineering geology. There was a story that the dam was rotated by five, six degrees … What does that solve? In the engineering-geological sense, maybe something, in the hydrogeological sense, nothing at all “, said Bulajić.
Milić also indicated that the terrain and water permeability of the dam had not been examined.
“The government says that they have preserved the Nevidio canyon. It doesn’t matter what they are guarding, if they don’t know what the water permeability is where they will build the dam “, said Milić.
The head of the Directorate for Development and Engineering of EPCG, Ivan Mrvaljević, is calling for a new design solution and geophysical research carried out in February this year. “The designer has now optimized the disposition of the dam in a certain way, he has moved it by some 30 meters. As provided by the Law on Geological Research, after the completion of the procedure for the adoption of a detailed spatial plan, we will do additional research, we plan in September. With these additional geological works, both according to our expectations and the expectations of the expert team of designers, there will be no problems with that left side “, Mrvaljević emphasized for CIN-CG.
Residents of this area are resisting the planned construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the Komarnica River
Velizar Kasalica, who lives near the river, told CIN-CG that he will not allow the untouched natural flow to be destroyed, and that he does not believe that everything will go according to plan even if the HPP is built. “We all know that there will be torrents, erosion and floods. Here let it be that famous elevation of 811 above sea level, where they guarantee that the Nevidio canyon will not be flooded, nor the Šavnik settlement, but that it will come 15 meters from that most attractive part. How can they guarantee that when it rains, as the storm knows, when all that water rushes from Durmitor, how will the Nevidio canyon accept it at all “, said Kasalica.
Darko Stijepović, from the NGO Center for Development of Durmitor, points out that only investors will benefit, and believes that tourist valorization will bring more benefits and money. “If we analyze the tourist visits to the natural resources in the area, we see that the proper tourist valorization of Komarnica can bring large sums. These are our natural beauties, water, land, air and it should be used by the investor, who will produce electricity and sell it to us. They will sell ours to us “, says Stijepović.
He emphasizes that there are only five such canyons in Southeast Europe: the canyon of the Neretva, Komarnica, Piva, Morača and Tara.
He claims that this area with numerous villages is ideal, and that it will be more topical after the coronavirus pandemic. He adds that the whole environment would be endangered by the construction of HPPs, because in addition to the top national bike path, there is also “Via Dinarica” and numerous opportunities for canyoning, fly fishing, ie tourism in the function of nature protection, which pays off:
“Guests who travel to learn more about the aforementioned and enjoy the natural resources pay 70 to 321 euros per day,” said Hivarinen, who recommends that the amount needed to build the HPP be redirected to the energy efficiency of rural households. He claims that in that way, the Government would invest in every citizen, and not in a handful of privileged individuals. The caterer from Piva Novica Gogić, instructed by the experience of building HPP “Mratinje”, points out that the population of this area will have small benefits from the new power plant, because a very small number of people from this area work in HPP Piva, “at most ten percent”.
Two partnership options
Mrvaljevic claims that he will be satisfied with the Government for EPCG to be the majority owner of the HPP. “Are we going to do that with the French, the Israelis, as majority owners and have a share, for example of 51 or 80 percent, so we will take a loan from an international financial organization, interest-free, development, from the World Bank, the German Development Bank – that is option one “, Mrvaljevic points out. In option two, there is the possibility of a private-public partnership.
“I don’t think we will have any problems choosing a partner. As an example, I will mention the German giant Hoyt, who in 2008 was interested in developing a project with us “, said Mrvaljević.
Ines Mrdović from the NGO Action for Social Justice considers private-public partnership undesirable in corruption-prone hybrid systems. “These are projects where the private partner expects extra profit and in which the guarantees of the public partner are always well protected. These guarantees are usually related to the prices of services, and in particular we pay them through the electricity bill “, says Mrdović.
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