Environment

No more permits for small hydropower plants in Federation of BiH

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Photo: Asurnipal / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

Published

July 11, 2022

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Published:

July 11, 2022

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The Federation of BiH passed a law banning the issuance of permits for small hydropower plants of up to 10 MW in capacity. Still, activists warned there are many projects with valid concession contracts that are allowed to move forward.

After ten years of resistance to the construction of small hydropower plants in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the upper chamber of its parliament voted almost unanimously to end the planning and the construction of such facilities. The House of Peoples adopted the proposition more than two years after the House of Representatives voted for a declaration on the protection of rivers and initiated a review of existing permits and concessions for small hydropower plants and ongoing projects.

Locals from affected communities launched the struggle more than ten years ago, aided by environmentalist groups. Now they are warning there are hundreds of projects in the country with concession contracts and that they are exempted by the law, so there is also an initiative to impose a moratorium on the construction of small hydropower plants.

There are 62 small hydropower projects left in the gray zone in the Federation of BiH, environmentalists from Eko akcija pointed out

Lawmakers in the Federation of BiH, one of two entities that make up Bosnia and Herzegovina, voted to ban the issuance of permits for such projects with a capacity of up to 10 MW. Environmentalist organization ACT said the members of both houses showed responsibility and completed the legislation process.

Environmentalist organization Eko akcija from Sarajevo said the decision prevents the construction of 111 small hydropower plants on 60 rivers in the Federation of BiH and that it would “substantially increase the chances” that another 62 projects on 39 rivers would be stopped.

The changes to the Law on Electricity to review the existing permits open the way for the authorities to review the existing permits.

There are currently 119 such systems active in BiH, of which 50 are in the Republic of Srpska. It is the country’s other entity. With the amendments to its Law on Renewable Energy Sources, the Republic of Srpska scrapped incentives for small hydropower plants, but it is yet to ban their construction.

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