Environment

Montenegro, BiH agree to repeat environmental study for HPP Buk Bijela

Montenegro BiH repeat environmental study HPP Buk Bijela

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Published

June 28, 2024

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Published:

June 28, 2024

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Negotiations between BiH and Montenegro on the dispute around the Buk Bijela hydropower project are yielding results. They agreed to conduct another environmental impact assessment study as part of the second phase of their roadmap.

Following a meeting facilitated by the Energy Community Secretariat’s Environmental Expert Aleksandra Bujaroska, the cross-border dialogue group comprising representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro has reached an agreement on the second phase of the roadmap for the Buk Bijela hydropower project. The focus is on conducting a new environmental impact assessment (EIA) study.

The agreement advances collaborative efforts to ensure the EIA for Buk Bijela in BiH meets stringent environmental standards, the secretariat said. The dialogue group will define the scope of the new study and incorporate the latest scientific data including input from the public and relevant authorities, and thoroughly examine all transboundary impacts, according to the announcement.

Construction on hold

Both delegations acknowledged the progress achieved in the first phase of the roadmap. Key outcomes included the verification of geodetic survey reports and hydrological measurements, confirming the initial steps of the dialogue, the Energy Community Secretariat added.

The Republic of Srpska, one of the two entities making up BiH, and Serbia marked the beginning of preparatory works for Buk Bijela (93 MW) three years ago. It is part of the proposed Gornja Drina (Upper Drina) complex, which would include hydropower plants Foča and Paunci on the same river.

But Montenegro and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other entity, have disputed the investment. The project is far behind schedule, with no construction activity at the moment, the meeting minutes showed.

Republic of Srpska, Montenegro working to resolve Bileća lake dispute

Gornja Drina is owned by Serbia’s state-controlled power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije or EPS (51%) and the Republic of Srpska’s Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS).

Separately, the Republic of Srpska and Montenegro are working to overcome the dispute around the Bileća lake.

Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of Srpska agreed in March to jointly develop projects in the energy sector including hydropower and grids and to accelerate dispute resolution processes. Energy ministers Saša Mujović, Dubravka Đedović Handanović and Petar Đokić, respectively, also met last month at the Belgrade Energy Forum, organized by Balkan Green Energy News.

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