The intensity of the construction of small hydropower plants (SHPPs) in the European Union is much lower today than it used to be in previous decades, Energy Community Secretariat Director Janez Kopač said, noting that he would not definitely reject or support such projects.
According to Insajder, when asked about EU countries’ experiences with SHPPs, Kopač said that new hydropower projects are mostly suspended, and that the intensity of the construction of these power plants is much lower than it used to be in previous decades.
Renewable energy sources in focus today are primarily wind and solar, Kopač said following a presentation of Serbia’s progress on the implementation of the Energy Community’s energy acquis during a session of the Serbian Parliament’s Committee on Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy.
The Energy Community supports renewable energy sources, and its legal framework envisages the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, he noted.
Each project must undergo the assessment and if it is negative then the project cannot proceed, he said, adding that he would not definitely reject SHPP projects, nor would he definitely support them.
He cited the most recent example of Albania, which froze the construction of all hydropower plants (HPPs).
However, it is true that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive was not implemented in Albania in the past, Kopač said, adding that he cannot comment on individual projects.
Albanian Energy and Infrastructure Minister Belinda Balluku has said she will freeze work on new HPPs and launch an investigation into 182 licenses issued to build 440 HPPs.
In Serbia, at the end of January, a few thousand citizens from all over the country gathered in Belgrade to rally with a single demand – the immediate halt of the construction of SHPPs.
The National Association of Small Hydropower Plants said that the protest represented a politicization of something that should not be a matter of politics and that SHPPs have the least impact on the environment compared to other renewable energy sources.