South and eastern European member countries of the Energy Community may soon have to be much more ambitious about environmental standards in the energy sector. This is because the Energy Community, the body that aims to create a common energy market between the EU and some of its neighbours, may be about to introduce more of the EU environmental acquis into its Treaty.
People living next to the Kolubara lignite mine in Serbia have suffered more under the floods due to the vicinity of the mine. Their demands for resettlement and compensation have now become more urgent than ever.
Local development and investments in resource extraction rarely go together hand in hand. Bankwatch's Media coordinator David Hoffman reports back on a recent visit to the EBRD sponsored Patos Marinza oil field in Albania. The case provides valuable lessons for the current revision of the EBRD’s safeguard policies.
Pljevlja's 210 MW lignite power plant, operating since 1982 in northern Montenegro, has caused controversy since the beginning of its lifetime. Even back in late '70s Yugoslavia when the project was being planned, residents succeeded in pressing for the chimney to be taller than planned (250 metres instead of 200 metres) in an attempt to ensure that the plant's pollution rose above the hills surrounding Pljevlja and dispersed further away.
Ideas about the construction of a new lignite power plant in Kosovo have existed since the end of the 1980s, and even the current Kosova e Re proposal – scaled down to 600 MW from the original 2100 MW – has been around since 2009. It is being touted by the Kosovo government, the World Bank, USAID and the European Commission among others as the only realistic option to replace the ageing and heavily polluting Kosovo A power plant.
When it comes to Kosovo's energy future, institution after institution has been putting most of its eggs in a 'new lignite' basket while some very reasonable alternative investment options seem to fall by the wayside.
Environmental groups in Ukraine have highlighted the negative local impacts of one of the biggest agribusinesses in the country, MHP, that is in line to receive additional credit by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Challenging a mining operation that generates about ten percent of GDP in a country and particularly doing so on environmental and social grounds is an intimidating task. But as the example of the Kumtor gold mine in Kyrgyzstan shows, indefatigability and scientific expertise can persuade decision-makers to defend the interests of a country and its people.