The state of Montenegro, judging by the 2020 Concession Plan for the use of watercourses to develop hydroelectric power plants, this year intends to start developing the only hydropower plant on the Komarnica River.
This is a decision from a recent government session of the neighbouring country, which would neither be unusual nor would it concern anyone in Serbia, if in this case the fact that the conceptual solution, according to the Agreement on Business and Technical Cooperation, was made in cooperation with EPCG and our public enterprise Elektroprivreda Srbije, whose compliance is instrumental in going ahead with this project.
Namely, several environmental organizations from Montenegro, such as Green Home and Ozone, expressed concern over the announced project, because according to the original plan, more than 17 dams would be built, which would flood a huge area from which the population would be forced to migrate, but it would also lead to the possible loss of certain species and a huge impact on flora and fauna. All that, as we found out, caused concern in the Serbian company.
The HPP project on Komarnica dates back to 1972 and has been launched several times, but it has not seen any substantial progress. Montenegro sees its great interest here, especially now that the submarine cable to Italy is in use, but without the Serbian partner, nothing can happen. More precisely, if EPS withdraws from the project, it will valorise its investment through the founding share in the future HPP Komarnica, but if EPCG unilaterally terminates the contract, it will have to compensate JP EPS and this is not a small amount of money – a well-informed source close to EPCG and EPS pointed out for our paper. According to him, the reason for concern is the unclear strategy regarding potential environmental problems and the huge opposition of the Montenegrin public – especially the population of the municipalities of Plužine and Šavnik.
Clear attitudes of Montenegrin environmental associations on this topic say that the construction of HPPs would significantly damage the environment, while the survival of nature’s gem of Montenegro and Europe, the Nevidio canyon, is also arguable. Environmentalists claim that the artificial reservoir would endanger the survival of birds, numerous plant species and wildlife.
Construction of a 168 MW hydroelectric power plant with a dam over 170 meters high and an estimated investment value of EUR 246 million, would turn major sections of Komarnica and Pridvorica watercourses into an artificial lake stretching for 14 kilometres in the direction of Nevidio canyon and as much as 17 km in the direction of Šavnik.
From the hydrogeological aspect, there are doubts and still unresolved issues regarding the area that would be flooded, migration of these people, but also the flora and fauna, therefore, it is unclear why Montenegro, after 50 years, has just decided to accelerate works on this project – our source added.
One needs to seek answers to this question in the fact that Montenegro is guided exclusively by its interest in this business, i.e. that politics has also got its finger in the pie. It is clear that this type of electricity generation will bring great benefits to small Montenegro because it is estimated that the annual income will be over EUR 40 million, and a huge plus for the ruling party because it will complete a project that is as old as fifty years. What the Montenegrin government is obviously not interested in is the fate of as many as 1,030 inhabitants, who would have to leave their homes, but also the sinking of the Jelovica monastery.
A project involving the development of such a dam would inevitably lead to flooding huge areas, which means the loss of nationally and internationally important plant and animal species and habitats, but also a unique landscape and canyon complex of special value – which is an earlier position of the Green Home association from Montenegro.
GREEN HOME ALSO OPPOSES CONSTRUCTION
The Green Home environmental association clearly stated that they were worried about the announced HPP Komarnica development project due to its environmental impact. Each dam has a greater or lesser negative impact on flora and fauna. For this reason, the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism should clearly consider all the positive and negative sides of this project and define measures to mitigate negative impacts that must undoubtedly happen – this association stated, alluding to the document on strategic environmental impact assessment.