Kosovo: Destroyed river bed inside Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park as a result of  Kelag (KelKos) hydropower construction © Shpresa Loshaj

The two hydropower plants of Kelag (Kelkos) in the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in Kosovo must be taken off the grid again. This is the decision of a court in Prishtina! A few weeks ago, Kelag announced that it has fulfilled the requirements and has therefore been granted permits for two of the three hydropower plants in the Bjeshkët e Nemuna National Park in Kosovo.

The Ugar in Bosnia-Herzegovina was a pristine mountain river where large Huchen spawned every spring. Now, two Kelag power plants drain most of the water and the Huchen are gone. © Amel Emric

The Austrian Kelag likes to present itself as a modern company with the highest environmental and social standards. However, reality paints a quite different picture: the Kelag is a problematic company in the Balkans. For years, environmental organizations and local residents have been protesting against its hydropower projects and the behavior of its employees, especially in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

This is what "clean" energy of the Kelag looks like: the destroyed river Lumbardhi in the National Park. © Shpresa Loshaj

In Kosovo, Kelag had to take the three hydropower plants Deçani, Belaja, Lumbardhi II, operated by its subsidiary KELKOS, from the grid! All three plants are located inside a national park. Kelag put these power plants in operation years ago. However, since they still failed to fulfilled the environmental requirements for construction and operation despite numerous requests, they had to take the three power plants off the grid at 00:00 the night before yesterday.

++ Vjosa Research Centre in Tepelena inaugurated ++ Scientists refute Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on Kalivaç hydropower plant ++ Albanian President speaks out in favour of Vjosa National Park ++ IUCN promises support ++ Today, the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, together with representatives of the Universities of Tirana and Vienna and the Mayor of Tepelena Tërmet Peçi, inaugurated the Vjosa Research Center

This is what destructive hydropower looks like. Below the dam, the river is reduced to a trickle, here at the Ugar river in Bosnia and Herzegovina © Amel Emric

In response to growing public opposition against destructive small hydropower in the region and an increasing number of complaints to the Energy Community Secretariat the Energy Community Secretariat has now published special policy guidelines on small hydropower projects. Furthermore, the Energy Community Secretariat has officially opened a dispute settlement procedure against Albania.

On Saturday, August 15th, hundreds of people from all over Serbia came to the village of Rakita with spades and mattocks to destroy illegal pipes of the Zvonce hydropower plant in their beloved Rakitska river. The investor laid the pipes illegally, but authorities didn’t act, so the people took matters into their own hands: “If the State is not doing its job and respecting the rule of law, we will do it for them!” was the motto of the action.

Hydropower plants, especially small hydro, are one of the main causes for the increasingly long Red Lists of fishes. If the expansion is not stopped, 186 fish species in the rivers of the Mediterranean region will be pushed further towards extinction. © Amel Emric

Hydropower plants are one of the main causes for the decline of numerous fish species in the Mediterranean region. This is the result of a new study. In total, 251 endangered freshwater fish species along with their stock situation in rivers in the Mediterranean basin were recorded. The impact of existing and planned hydropower plants on these populations was also evaluated.

Neretvica: 15 hydropower plants are projected along this pristine river. With the decision in the Federation of BiH all these projects will be checked © Amel Emric

++ Parliament imposes construction freeze for hydropower projects ++ Tuesday night, the Parliament of the Federation of BiH decided on a moratorium on all new small hydropower projects in the country. This means that no more new plants will be approved, and projects that have already been approved will be audited to see whether or not their approval was legally admissible.

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