Zorana Mihajlović, Serbian vice premier and minister for construction and infrastructure, said the development of small hydropower facilities (SHPPs) for which investors have been given the locations, has seized, B92.net portal reported.
She reminded that while she was the minister responsible for energy, in the previous mandate, two public invitations were published for the locations. Altogether, there were 450 locations on offer, with memorandums subsequently signed for 293 lots.
The deadline for launching 200 small hydro plants expires in June without a single one built, Center for Investigative Journalism (CINS) said in a report. Investors are suffering losses and many are giving up on their endeavour, accusing the state of being inefficient. Others still struggle to get permits and hope for help from the Ministry of Mining and Energy.
Apart from the procedure, there was no help to solve ownership issues and power monopoly Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) isn’t making grid connection any simpler, investors say.
Some of them added the ministry doesn’t even communicate with them. After a year in the process, in September last year it cancelled a third of the location permits, ones that belonged to investors who hadn’t submitted investment projects, but it didn’t inform them.
A review by Serbia’s public water management enterprise Srbijavode led to the conclusion that at least one-fifth of locations the government offered to investors to build mini hydroelectric facilities was on dry land, Serbian daily Večernje novosti said in April.
Out of 600, only around 60 places are suitable to build a dam on a small stream, while the rest is in national parks or owned by citizens who do not wish to sell property or ask up to EUR 10,000 for the location.