BGF and INDEP present an analysis on the real potential of hydro-power projects in Kosovo

Pristina, March 13, 2019 - Balkan Green Foundation (BGF) and the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) organized a press conference where the findings from the hydropower study in Kosovo and the problems with their construction were presented, especially how they impact national parks and other protected areas. During the conference, the overall situation of the hydropower sector in Kosovo was presented, the plans and the real potential of water capacity, and the problems posed by the operation of the existing hydropower plants in the country.

The conference emphasized that Kosovo as a water-scarce country does not have enough of this key resource to accommodate such a large number of planned hydropower plants in the country. Hydropower projects are being constructed without considering the impacts of these projects on the environment and the social and economic life of the communities that are being affected by these interventions.

Besfort Kosova, a Researcher at Balkan Green Foundation (BGF), presented the detailed data of the study, stating that water capacity is not sufficient in building these projects, and they should be strictly prohibited in national parks and protected natural areas. Mr. Kosova said that "The fact remains that 62% (48 out of 77) of existing and planned small hydropower plants are located within areas of particular natural importance, such as national parks, strict nature reserves, special protected areas, and areas with many relic and endemic features of flora, vegetation, fauna, natural habitats, plants and animals, etc. ". He added that "BGF and INDEP are not against hydropower but advocate that they should be built in certain places where they do not degrade the environment, do not harm biodiversity and do not cause various environmental problems, especially in rivers or damage the groundwater. Investors should consider local communities and consult with all affected stakeholders, as well as better coordination between institutions, not only in planning but also in monitoring these projects is needed."

While, Dardan Abazi, Researcher at the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP), said: "Energy from renewable sources is one of the key factors that will affect the sustainability of Kosovo's energy system. As such, its proper use is important to ensure that the energy transition is in the function of protecting the environment and increasing the quality of life of citizens be achieved. Policymaking should focus on the environment in drafting strategies and re-evaluate the potential of renewable sources for electricity generation in Kosovo. Above all, the creation of these policies should be done with full transparency, by including the citizens, community and civil society, "Abazi said.

The conference concluded with concrete recommendations and steps that are relevant what institutions should undertake in order to improve the hydropower sector and also to meet Kosovo's mandatory targets within the framework of the Energy Community Treaty. It was reiterated that in natural areas which are highly protected (by law), small hydropower plants are not acceptable as a viable solution.

The study published by Balkan Green Foundation (BGF) and the Institute for Development Policy (INDEP) can be found here.

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