Regional Strategy Draw the Guide Principles for Sustainable HPP in the WBs
Prepared by Dr Lorenc Gordani
Western Balkans region needs new sources of energy production. In the context of replacing carbon-intensive generation capacity, and in view of achieving the 2020 renewable energy targets established by the Western Balkans countries in their respective National Renewable Energy Action Plans as part of the obligations agreed under the Energy Community Treaty, all renewable energy sources will play a strategic role in the new energy mix.
Hydropower is a relatively clean energy, mostly free of CO2 emissions during operation. However, it can have large, negative impacts on the environment and, in particular, on water resources, the ecological quality of the rivers and the associated ecosystems and biodiversity. In view of the considerable challenges poses a number of essential sustainability principles must be observing.
– Hydropower amongst other renewable energy sources
– The priority of rehabilitating the existing structures
– A limited number of additional large hydropower plants
– Grid integration of renewable energy sources and regional electricity market
– Integrated water resources management
– The climate challenge for hydropower development
– Environmental impacts of hydropower development
– Transboundary considerations
– Including sustainability principles in hydropower planning
These requirements are interlinked and should therefore be implemented in a coordinated manner. All assessments must be subject to proper public consultation, engaging with local community as well as civil society organisations. Transboundary consultations with affected countries have to be undertaken as well. A process that most result in significant improvements of the technical aspects of projects.
An above, the European Commission will organise in the spring a WB6 Ministerial meeting to endorse the principles and the indicative list of potential projects for a sustainable development of hydropower in the Western Balkans. By endorsing these principles, the Western Balkans six reiterate the commitments made in the context of their future accession to the European Union as well as under the Energy Community Treaty and the Paris Agreement affirm in its preliminary conclusion the study a regional strategy for sustainable hydropower in the Western Balkans.
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