Environment

Montenegro’s new cabinet to ban small hydropower, revise concessions

Montenegro's ban small hydropower concessions

Photo: Parliament of Montenegro

Published

December 3, 2020

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Published:

December 3, 2020

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Zdravko Krivokapić vowed in his speech before Parliament that his government would implement environmental protection measures that would truly make Montenegro an ecological state. The prime minister-designate said green economy is the first of seven pillars of the incoming cabinet’s policy and that the country would ban the construction of small hydropower plants, adding that concessions, especially the damaging ones, would be reassessed.

Directing capital investments into Montenegro’s strategic priorities, primarily energy and transportation infrastructure, is one of the main tasks of the incoming government, Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapić said. In the presentation of the proposed cabinet’s program, he told lawmakers the approach would be based on 4E: energy, efficiency, economy and ecology. A declaration will be adopted to ban new small hydropower plant projects, he revealed.

Investing in environmental protection, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change, together with appropriate measures to promote social inclusion, should be understood as a driver of green and sustainable development and an investment, not an expense, Krivokapić underscored and added it is the only way to truly make Montenegro and ecological state, as it is designated in the constitution.

The approach will be based on 4E: energy, efficiency, economy and ecology

In the keynote speech, he pointed to green economy as the first of the seven pillars making up the foundation of his government, in line with the European Union. It is followed by digital transformation, regional cooperation and interlinkage, competition, social welfare, equal opportunity society and good governance on the path to joining the EU.

Water streams are one of the biggest natural treasures of Montenegro

“So far only privileged individuals benefited from the construction of small hydropower plants, often by corruption and nepotism, by winning concessions for the construction of the said facilities on our rivers at the expense of our citizens who paid the costs through their electricity bills. Our water streams, the majority of which rises in Montenegro territory, are one of the biggest national treasures of Montenegro and they have to be preserved as our country’s natural heritage,” Krivokapić stressed.

Krivokapić: There was corruption in awarding concessions, and citizens paid for the damage through their electricity bills

The incoming prime minister said small hydropower plants hurt river ecosystems and public finances and that their share in the energy system is negligible. He promised the government would amend the Law on Energy and reassess all concession agreements, especially those that proved to be detrimental. The law was last changed in July.

No word on coal

“The government’s plan is to raise citizens’ awareness of environmental conservation and protection, to support measures for the removal and management of waste, solve the problems of environmental black spots and polluters, solve the issue of bulky waste like car tyres, to create recycling centers, protect natural ecosystems, forests, waters and large pastures, strengthen the production and branding of domestic and environmentally friendly goods,” Krivokapić states. He didn’t touch on the coal issue or the future of the mine and thermal power plant in Pljevlja in his speech.

The sectors of energy, energy efficiency, mining and geological research will be under the newly formed Ministry of Capital Investments.

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