++The Albanian government opens the procedure for the concession of the HPP of Kalivaci++NGOs oppose this decision++
Tirana, Vienna, Radofzell. After 20 years of delay and postponement of works, the Albanian Government decided to cancel the contract with the Italian company Kalivaçi Green Energy for the unfinished Kalivaçi hydropower plant in Vjosë. Immediately, the Ministry of Energy and Industry re-opened the procedures for granting a new concession Contract Notice (in Albanian). Interested companies can apply to build this hydropower plant until July 18, 2017, according to the criteria defined in the law.
“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. However, the government has decided to open the concession procedure, in opposition with the will of the local government and the community, national and international actors. We will strongly oppose this project and continue the battle for free Vjosa, without dams!” said Olsi Nika from EcoAlbania and coordinator of the campaign for the protection of Vjosa in Albania .
The Kalivaçi project is the first hydropower plant in Vjosa awarded in 1997. The construction of the dam started in 2007, but was interrupted several times. Initially, the main source of financing was the Italian investor Becchetti Grup and Deutsche Bank, but the works have gone up to the level of 30%, leaving the river still intact.
This is not the only hydropower plant that the Albanian government is trying to build, despite constant opposition. She has appealed to the Administrative Court the decision to cancel the hydropower plant of Pocem, which was planned to be built below Kalivaç. “The court’s decision against Pocem HPP, which was based on an inappropriate Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and false public consultation, shows the lack of functioning of the state within the government. We call on the Albanian authorities to respect the national law and follow international standards regarding the procedure of the Kalivac HPP”, said Ulrich Eichelmann, coordinator of the “Save Europe’s Blue Heart” campaign from Riverwatch.
Connecting it with the parliamentary elections in Albania that will be held on June 25, 2017, the Director of the EuroNatur Foundation adds: “It is unacceptable that the Albanian Government reopens the issue of Kalivac just a month before the elections. The decision to exploit the Vjosa for hydro-power instead of preserving it as the last wild river in Europe and the rush to the election period will have major consequences on Albania’s path to EU membership.”
- Vjosa is the last wild river in Europe. It flows untouched through deep gorges, marshes and islands for about 270 km from the Pindi Mountains to the Adriatic Sea. The Albanian government and Prime Minister Edi Rama has given the green light to the Turkish company for the construction of the Pocem hydropower plant, which is planned to be built in the most ecologically rich part of the Vjosa river.
- The “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign aims to protect the rivers with the greatest natural values in the Balkan peninsula. The campaign is coordinated by the international NGOs Riverwatch and EuroNatur in cooperation with partner organizations in the Balkan countries.
Cornelia Wieser – Riverwatch, [email protected], +43 650 4544784
Olsi Nika – EcoAlbania, [email protected] +355 69 29 44 757
Katharina Grund – EuroNatur, [email protected], + 49 7732 927210