Today, 20 Albanian environmental organisations under the direction of EcoAlbania submitted a detailed proposal for the creation of the Vjosa National Park to the Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi. The group of NGOs feel compelled to take this step since Albanian government representatives have been announcing the national park for months, but have not taken any steps towards its implementation.
In a recent study, researchers of NOVA University Lisbon evaluated the economic viability and energy productivity of existing and planned small hydropower projects in the European Mediterranean region. They found that currently, they can cover at best 2.6% of gross electricity consumption and 0.47% of primary energy consumption. The real contribution is likely much lower.
Every two years, we analyse the situation of hydropower development in the Balkans, updating the data of existing and planned hydropower plants as well as those currently under construction. Since the last update of this kind in 2018, another 300 HPPs came into operation, leaving hundreds of kilometres of rivers and streams devastated.
In Europe, 91 percent of the planned 8,000 hydropower plants are “small”. But what do small dams really look like and how do they affect nature and species around them? Not many people have ever seen a small dam scheme. This is why we prepared this catalogue visualizing the effects of small hydro with drone footage of existing dams.
++ 94 % of Albanians in favour of establishing Vjosa National Park ++ IUCN confirms the potential of Vjosa River for becoming a National Park ++ Albanian Environmental Minister has opposing plan ++ Today, EcoAlbania, Riverwatch and EuroNatur informed the public about the latest developments regarding the Vjosa.
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 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.
++ NGOs submit a complaint to the Bern Convention against Bosnia and Herzegovina for permitting dam-building on the pristine upper Neretva ++ A related complaint was submitted to the Energy Community Secretariat in August for failure to protect the pristine upper stretches of the river Neretva from eight planned hydropower projects. ++
Austrian Kelag forced to take three hydropower plants in Kosovo off the power grid
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.
In a reaction to the statement of Albanian President Ilir Meta, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced to the media today that he also is in favor of establishing a Vjosa National Park and that the Kalivaç dam has been rejected by the Minister for Environment. We highly welcome todays statement of Albania's PM Edi Ramas, that the Vjosa river will be saved and the Kalivaç dam will not be build. Following the PM’s message, this is the right time to start a dialogue about the future of the Vjosa.
Our group of allies is increasing! Scientists in our network not only lend their own data but also use their independent voices to advocate for the protection of rivers.
The interactive map to explore the region in detail based on different criteria.
The Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers is a comprehensive study which, for the first time, combines knowledge about biodiversity (fish, mussels, caddisflies), integrity of rivers and floodplains (hydromorphology), as well as the location of protected areas.
We are a coalition of NGOs who have launched the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” in order to raise awareness about the imminent dam craze on the Balkan peninsula and to spare the most valuable rivers and river stretches from destruction.