Disproportionate public subsidies for small hydropower in the Western Balkans have resulted in widespread environmental damage and have benefited wealthy business people close to or part of the region’s governments, with little benefit for electricity generation, finds a new study released today by CEE Bankwatch Network.
In Stara Planina Nature Park, Serbia, the battle between local communities and SHPP investors has reached a new level. The Union of Local Communities (SMZSP) declared a state of emergency due to non-compliance with Serbian laws. The SMZSP has organized a 24/7 solidarity watch in Topli Do to prevent illegal construction and protect the law.
SAVE THE DATE: One day - two events for free rivers! We are pleased to announce the International Wild River Science Symposium and the Wild Rivers Night in Tirana/Albania on October 18th, 2019. The symposium will bring together renowned scientists from around the world. The symposium will end in an entertaining evening event with selected talks and live music.
With the halting of the incentive scheme for wind farms in March, the destructive technology of small hydropower is now the only renewable source of energy receiving significant support in the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While providing a minimal contribution to overall electricity generation, small hydropower causes enormous damage to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s communities, economy and unique biodiversity.
++ First ever international Action Weeks for Balkan Rivers ++ People took to the streets in many countries of the Balkan region ++ They protested against the destruction of the last wild river landscapes in Europe ++ From July 6 to 16, 2019 around 1000 people took part in protests in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece against hydropower expansion on the Balkan rivers.
++ Sediment study of the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) proves serious consequences of the planned power plants on the Vjosa ++ For over a year, scientists from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) have been studying the sediment transport of the Vjosa river for different high and low water phases
Recently, we presented our vision for Europe´s first Wild River National Park, protecting the Vjosa and her tributaries along her entire course in Albania from source to sea, instead of destroying it with dams. However, the idea only works if free-flow and connectivity is preserved. Read OUR FACTSHEET to learn about possible borders, sizes and how this Wild River National Park could be implemented!
Have you seen ‘Blue Heart’ yet? No? Well, it’s your lucky day, because it is now available for free on youtube – with subtitles in 11 languages! The documentary “Blue Heart”, produced by Farm League on behalf of Patagonia, follows our campaign and other, local stakeholders through the Balkans to document the crime committed on Europe’s last river jewels and on communities who live by them.
Thousands of people are affected by the projected dam tsunami in the Balkans. Many of them are fighting back – they are determined to protect their river, whatever the cost - “We give our life, but not our river” is a common attitude. Together we are stronger - we must support and unite them in their fight, tell their stories and protest with them in solidarity. Join us at the Balkan-wide Action Weeks in July!
In late May, the Banja Luka District Court cancelled the environmental permit for the planned 93 MW Buk Bijela hydropower plant on the river Drina in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the basis of a complaint submitted by the Aarhus Centar in 2018. The Drina is also the most important habitat of the endangered Danube Salmon, found only in some of the cleanest rivers in the Danube basin of southeast Europe.