Renewables

Serbia halts wind farm project for first time

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Published

June 5, 2024

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Published:

June 5, 2024

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Serbia’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has issued a decision on nature protection conditions which prevents the planned construction of a wind farm on Mount Bukovik, according to an announcement by local environmental organization Sokobanja Ecological Society (SED). This is the first case in Serbia where the construction of a wind power plant has been effectively prohibited.

If the Čestobrodica project were to be implemented, hundreds of hectares of forests would be cut down, leading to erosion, siltation of watercourses and lakes, drying up of springs, and changes in the microclimate, according to SED.

The ministry’s latest decision, claims SED, expressly rules out the construction of wind turbines in the territory of Sokobanja, though the project can go ahead on the territory of Boljevac.

According to the zoning plan for the proposed 253 MW wind farm with 55 turbines, its location would have included the cadastral municipalities of Krivi Vir and Lukovo in the municipality of Boljevac and the cadastral municipalities of Jošanica, Rujevica and Vrbovac in the Sokobanja municipality.

The decision prevents its construction primarily in order to protect the beech forests in the area, which are the habitat of a large number of strictly protected species, including lynx.

The beech forests in the area are home to many protected species, including lynx

SED recalls that Srbijašume has issued design conditions significantly narrowing the investor’s options for the construction of the planned wind farm. Specifically, the conditions prohibit cutting down trees and repurposing the forest land.

The organization also claims that it is now impossible to align the draft zoning plan for the municipality of Sokobanja with the issued conditions.

The municipal authorities should now annul the decision on producing the zoning plan for the Čestobrodica project, which would result in discontinuing all activities related the construction of the wind farm on Mount Bukovik.

Local stakeholders had not been informed about the project’s implementation

A group of Sokobanja residents, several town councilors, and representatives of SED and public forest management enterprise Srbijašume held a meeting in late March, during which they concluded that none of them had been informed on the implementation of the wind farm project or consulted on the decisions regarding the zoning plan.

Moreover, none of those present at the meeting had been given access to any part of the feasibility study or the environmental impact assessment study for the project, according to a report by Politički.rs.

The investor is Belgrade-based Vetroenergo. According to the Business Registers Agency, this firm is 100% owned by Wind Alliance from Belgrade, which is majority owned by Cyprus-registered Comay Co Limited.

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