With cheaper and cleaner alternatives available, it is “irrational” to keep constructing small hydropower plants and harming the environment for practically no benefit, the Prime Minister of Bosnia’s Federation (FBiH) region, Fadil Novalic, said after meeting with representatives of environmental organisations on Tuesday.
The fate of Bosnia’s rivers has been in the spotlight recently after numerous global environmental organisations and environmentalists, including Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, called on the FBiH Government to ban the construction of small hydropower plants due to the harmful effects such projects produce for the environment and local communities.
“The benefit in terms of acquiring electrical energy is nonexistent. It is exclusively shared between a small number of private owners. Technology has progressed so much in the past 15 to 16 years that we don’t have to use small hydropower plants at all,” Novalic said.
“Now we have wind power plants, and in the past three years we got 120 megawatts of electricity from them and we signed approval for 125 megawatts more,” he said.
The FBiH Prime Minister argued that constructing new small hydropower plants is “irrational” now and added that there is also solar power as an alternative, which is a “six times cheaper source of electric energy.”
The takeaway from the meeting was that the approach of the government towards small hydropower plants will change and that a strategy to discontinue supporting such projects will be applied as much as possible.
Some of these projects can not be stopped since contracts for the construction of the plants are in force until the year 2023, Novalic noted.
“We must systematically start changing the legislation so we don’t support harmful things. Small hydropower plants truly change lives in local communities, especially those of the people living nearby,” he said.
Lejla Kusturica, from the Atelier for Community Transformation (ACT), said that the meeting was important and included a discussion on ways to save the rivers Doljanka, Neretvica and Kruscica.
The activists presented to authorities how the construction of the plants harms the environment and local communities.
The FBiH Government said that it will inform citizens about changes to key documentation regarding the law and regulations by next month.