Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said most concession contracts for small hydropower plants in North Macedonia would be annulled regardless of possible litigation.
Due to the reactions and substantiated complaints by environmentalists and citizens and in line with the upcoming law on giving a part of the Shar Mountains the status of a national park, the Government of North Macedonia will revoke concessions for most of small hydropower plants, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said.
Some of the contracts will go to court and the state will have to pay large damages, but it has no dilemma, he stressed.
Protests were justified
“All Europe considers small hydropower plants to be exceptionable sources of renewable energy as, by the standards, it implies a complete return to nature and the opening of fish passages. Only the water that spins the turbine is kept. But that is by standards. However, we can probably say that the reaction here was justified as construction wasn’t always conducted in line with regulations. That is, nature wasn’t returned to its original state and some of the small hydropower plants don’t have a fish passage, which is intended for maintaining biodiversity at small hydropower plants. By following European regulations to the fullest, where it should be canceled, it will be canceled,” state-owned press agency MIA quoted Zaev as saying, as reported by Plusinfo.mk and other media outlets.
Construction wasn’t conducted in line with regulations, Zaev says
In some cases the process is already underway, with regard to adopting the law to make the Shar Mountains and the Popova Šapka peak a national park, he said. “I hope that we will achieve settlements on most of them as there are invoices, expenses that were made according to previous decisions, in 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013,” Zaev underscored.
Zaev maintains small hydropower plants are no threat if they are built properly
Back in February, the prime minister promised a concession agreement for a small hydropower plant in Lešnica on the Shar Mountains would be terminated as it endangered the water supply of the village of Žirovnica. At the same time, he also claimed small hydropower plants are “if not the most environmentally friendly, then one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources.”
It prompted harsh criticism from environmentalists, who warned of the environmental impact and the Energy Community Secretariat’s recommendation not to subsidize such facilities.