The Energy Community Secretariat has launched an infringement procedure against Montenegro for continuing to operate TPP Pljevlja despite the expiry of its sole thermal power plant’s opt-out period. The continued operation of TPP Pljevlja constitutes a breach of the European Union’s (EU) Large Combustion Plants Directive, according to a press release on the Secretariat’s website.
Announcing the infringement procedure, the Secretariat said that TPP Pljevlja has not met the stricter emissions standards set by the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive that would allow it to continue to operate after exhausting the 20,000 operating hours allowed under the opt-out mechanism.
The approaching end of TPP Pljevlja’s opt-out period had been continuously flagged
The Secretariat also recalled that the approaching end of TPP Pljevlja’s opt-out period had been continuously flagged, including in the Secretariat’s 2019 and 2020 Annual Implementation Reports, and was finally confirmed by Montenegro’s annual report under the Large Combustion Plants Directive, submitted in March 2021.
In January, Montenegrin Minister for Capital Investment Mladen Bojanić said that the country’s authorities were negotiating a new deadline for shutting down TPP Pljevlja.
EU unlikely to approve deadline extension for TPP Pljevlja
However, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač said in February that he did not believe the EU would agree to extend the deadline as it is rapidly pursuing decarbonization and a coal phaseout. In an address to Montenegrin lawmakers, Kopač said that TPP Pljevlja’s environmental overhaul must be a priority.
In March, Montenegrin non-governmental organization Green Home said that the European Environment Agency had announced that the power plant had used up its 20,000 hours at the end of 2020.
TPP Pljevlja is the first thermal power plant in the region to use up the opt-out limit, but could soon be followed by facilities in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.