The new power plant will not only burn Kosovo's lignite, but also its future!

December 15, 2017 - Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) rejects the decision to proceed with the construction of the "New Kosova" power plant because it will not only not ensure independence of supply but will harm the health, the environment and the European future of the energy sector in Kosovo. With a non-transparent and secret process, the only thing that can be guaranteed is deepening of the energy poverty, isolation and further degradation of the environment and public health.

Yesterday’s decision is in violation of the constitutional principles of a democratic state that promotes environmental protection (Article 7 - Values), with the principles for environmental protection (Article 52 - Responsibility for the Environment), with Law no. 05 / L-081 on Energy on promoting a free and integrated market in the region and beyond (Article 6.2). Overcoming these constitutional and legal provisions is unacceptable and as such this decision should be withdrawn.

Yesterday’s decision of the Government of the Republic of Kosovo to proceed with the achievement of the agreement with Contour Global is strategically wrong for the energy sector of the Republic of Kosovo. This is because it puts all the financial, human and institutional capacities in the service of developing a dying technology, that of the burning of lignite. Rather for Kosovo’s institutions to work on meeting and expanding targets for energy efficiency and energy produced from green resources, our government prioritises billions of investments in projects of the past.

Market integration is the central goal of the Energy Community, which consists also of the EU member states, but also the signatories of the Treaty. [1] Integration and liberalization of the energy market in Kosovo cannot be done if we engage in contractual obligations for return of investments to a private operator. On the other hand, the liberalization of the energy market in general and electricity in particular is the obligation of the third package of energy laws adopted in 2016.

The Transmission System Operator shall, with the prior approval of the Regulator, participate in the operation of one or more integrated systems within one or more of the regions, covered by one or more parties of the Energy Community for the purpose of calculated coordination of transboundary capacities and allocation of coordinated cross-border capacities and verification of operational security and with the aim of establishing and developing regional electricity markets and their liberalization [2].

The project "New Kosovo" mines Kosovo's European future. In the integration process, it contradicts European decarbonization policies, liberalization and market integration policies and environmental and health standards. Setting a carbon price will definitely be mandatory for Kosovo. Adding the additional health and environmental cost of lignite burning above 10 cents per kilowatt [3] it suggests that this decision is also economically unfavorable.

It is not possible to talk about a liberal and integrated market if the main component of the market, which is competition, is undermined in order for a private company to realize its profit at all costs. In the integrated energy market, the energy producer must compete equally with other producers, be subject to the risks of free competition and be able to survive. As lignite burning technology is in decline every day, Contour Global is being guaranteed a return on investment at the expense of citizens, in an unintelligible and unjustified manner.

KOSID considers that instead of insisting on lignite investment, Kosovo should focus on investments in energy efficiency as an additional source of energy, on promoting energy from renewable sources, and on the European integration agenda. Finally, a one billion investment in a strategic sector such as energy, requires at least a broader social consultation and national consensus, an environmental impact assessment and a clear picture of the implications. Transparency and opening of files since the beginning of this process is a constitutional, legal and moral obligation of any democratic Government.

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[1] Energy Community Secretariat, (2015), Policy Guidelines for the Common Market Organization for Contracting Countries, Vienna: Online Bookstore of the Treaty.

[2] Republic of Kosovo, (2016), Law no. 05 / L-085 on Energy, Article 21, Promotion of Regional Cooperation, page 61, Prishtina: GZRKS.

[3] GWEA, (2013), The full costs of power generation - A comparison of subsidies and societal cost of renewable and conventional energy sources, e qasshme në http://www.foes.de/pdf/2013-03-full-costs-of-power-generation.pdf (accessed on December, 2017).

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