In a response to complaints from the local population against the Brajići wind farm project, the Ministry of Capital Investments of Montenegro said it is working on a spatial planning document. The project with a planned capacity of 100.8 MW was awarded to a German-Montenegrin consortium. A group of residents and the local council of Sveti Stefan in the municipality of Budva have asked the government to move the wind farm project to another location and preserve its cultural and historical heritage.
Minister of Capital Investments Ervin Ibrahimović said activities are underway for the adoption of the planning document for the Brajići project, Vijesti reported. Earlier, the local council in Sveti Stefan and a group of residents said no wind farm should be built on the hills above the town of Budva.
The Ministry of Capital Investments said a spatial planning document for the project Brajići is being drafted
The responsibility of the Ministry of Capital Investments is the contract monitoring procedure related to the deadlines for issuing permits, and the Ministry of Ecology, Spatial Planning and Urbanism (MEPG) is carrying out the activities, the minister said.
“When we talk about the impact on the cultural and natural heritage, all legally prescribed norms must certainly be respected. We stress that it will be handled in the process of issuing certain conditions or permits under the jurisdiction of MEPG. The initial step is the preparation of spatial planning documentation, where all segments affected by the construction of this type of facility, which is at the same time under the responsibility of MEPG, will be taken into account during its preparation,” Ibrahimović stated.
In the 2019 tender procedure for the long-term lease of state-owned land for the construction of a wind farm at the Brajići site in the municipalities of Budva and Bar, the only bid was submitted by the consortium of German wpd and the company Vjetroelektrane Budva from Podgorica. In 2020, the government signed a land lease agreement.
“The German-Montenegrin consortium has envisaged an investment of EUR 101.3 million – a wind farm with a capacity of 100.8 MW and the lease of 220,770 square meters of public land at a price of EUR 2.5 per square meter annually. The consortium also offered to arrange the participation of domestic companies worth EUR 21.6 million,” Ibrahimović said adding the wind farm would produce about 220 GWh per year.
Local community strongly opposes project
The locals in Brajići, Sveti Stefan, Bečići, Buljarica, and Petrovac are strongly opposed to the plan to build the wind farm in Brajići and Paštrovska gora.
Locals warned they would “preserve the cultural and natural heritage with all their might, to the last drop of sweat and with all available means within the limits of legal and natural law,” as quoted by the Montenegrin daily.
They asked the Government of Montenegro to launch an initiative to move the wind farm project to another location.
Response of local community to ministry
The land lease agreement was signed without any consultation with the local community, its representatives claimed and added that it violates the Constitution of Montenegro.
The land lease agreement for the wind farm was signed without any consultation with the local community
Citizen group NE Vjetroelektrani Brajići – Paštrovska gora said more than 90% of the local community is against the project. They added it was necessary to consider the opinion and interests of the local community before any tenders and contracts.
Locals pointed out that the government and the investor had to comply with the provisions of the Kyiv SEA Protocol to the Espoo Convention, to which Montenegro has been a signatory since 2009.
It requires strategic environmental impact assessments to be made at the earliest stages of project development for large infrastructure projects with a potential negative impact on the environment, including energy.
Before the project’s impact on the local community and the environment is known, any agreement can not be signed, according to the group.
The government must respect the Council of Europe Convention on Landscapes, ratified by Montenegro, which requires maximum care for beautiful landscapes, the statement reads.
The citizen group also provided a list of relevant scientific papers on the negative impact of wind farms on the local community, tourism in general, rural tourism, the visual experience of the environment, and human health.
The representatives of the local community stressed there are about fifteen villages, five monasteries, twenty five churches, two medieval cemeteries, an old Austro-Hungarian road, and cultural, historical, and natural treasures in the Paštrovska gora and Brajići area. They said some of the sites are within the zone of the planned wind farm.