Financing for hydropower in protected areas in Southeast Europe

Southeast Europe is experiencing a wave of hydropower projects. In a region with a deadly combination of Europe's last wild rivers, rampant corruption and inadequate nature protection, the potential for damage is immense. A recent study by Dr Ulrich Schwarz (see study "Hydropower Projects in Protected Areas on the Balkans" below) found that almost half of the planned projects are in protected areas. This research aims - to the extent possible given the secrecy around the financial sector - who are the main actors involved in financing hydropower projects in the region, both overall and inside of protected areas. The extensive analysis shows that multilateral development banks are playing a key role. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) have extended loans totalling EUR 818 million to no less than 75 hydropower projects, including 30 directly affecting protected areas like national parks, Natura 2000 sites, and Ramsar sites.

!!! Update January 2017 !!!
The EBRD has said that financing has been cancelled for four small hydropower plants in Macedonia: Zrnovska reka 1, Zrnovska reka 2, Estericka reka, Kadina reka. In addition, financing has been cancelled for the 68 MW Boskov Most plant in the Mavrovo National Park, also in Macedonia. Regarding the Ternove SHPP in Albania, the EBRD has said that it had conducted an on-site investigation into the concerns received in a letter from an affected citizen. The bank found nothing to substantiate the allegations. Bankwatch will continue to monitor the issue.

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