The reopening of the Kalivaçi concession extinguishes hopes for a Vjosa without hydropower plants

The Albanian government has canceled the works of the Kalivaçi hydropower plant by the company Kalivaçi Green Energy of the Italian businessman Becchetti, however the Ministry of Energy and Industry has immediately started the procedures to find a new investor in Kalivaç.

The last wild river in Europe, the Vjosa, is currently flowing free of HPPs for at least a few months, after the Albanian government decided to cancel the contract for the construction of the Kalivaçi hydro plant by the Italian company Kalivaçi Green Energy.

After 20 years of delays and work interruptions, since the permission was granted for the Kalivaç hydropower plant in 1997, the works have stopped at the rate of 30 percent, where the Vjosa river remains untouched.

The unfinished dam of Kalivaci. (c) R. Dorozhani

This has given the residents of the area and river protection organizations in Albania and Europe hope for the return of Vjosa to the National Park, a promise also made by Prime Minister Edi Rama.

“The cancellation of the existing contract makes Vjosa legally free from HPPs and offers a golden opportunity to declare Vjosa as the first Wild River Park in Europe” said Olsi Nika, the coordinator of the campaign for the protection of Vjosa in Albania near EcoAlbania.

However, the Ministry of Energy and Industry opened the procedures for a new Kalivac concession on May 26, giving companies until July 18, 2017 to enter the game.

The contract envisages “the construction of a dam-type hydropower plant, near the village of Kalivaç, downstream of the Vjosa River”, while the duration of the concession is 35 years.

“The government has decided to open the concession procedure, contrary to the will of the local government and the community, national and international actors. We will strongly oppose this project and will continue the battle for free Vjosa, without dams!”, Nika added.

Kalivaçi opened in 1997 the ordeal of hydropower plants on the Vjosë river, which Albanian and international scientists evaluate as rich in biodiversity and as necessary to be protected and developed in a sustainable manner.

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