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Stanari lignite power plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Stanari power plant under construction in early 2014.

EFT’s 300 MW Stanari power plant, constructed by China's Dongfang, and financed by the China Development Bank, is located near Doboj in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Republika Srpska part of the country. Originally it was planned to be a 420 MW plant but this was considered to be on the edge of economic viability and the capacity was reduced to 300 MW.

The plant officially started commercial operations in September 2016, but was already out of date in terms of environmental standards. Its environmental permit stipulated compliance only with the older EU Large Combustion Plants Directive, not with the current Industrial Emissions Directive.

During the project's development a number of problems have been raised, including the following:

No environmental impact assessment for the changed project

The environmental impact assessment process was carried out only for the original, larger version of the project and the Republika Srpska authorities did not require a new process for the new, smaller plant.

While it may appear that a smaller plant has less environmental impact and therefore does not need a new study, in fact there were also several other changes which would change the plant's environmental impact:

  • Originally the project was planned to have a net thermal efficiency of 43 percent but the new version would have a net thermal efficiency of 34.1 per cent.
  • It was changed from supercritical pulverised lignite technology to subcritical Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion.
  • The cooling technology has also been changed from a wet to a dry cooling system. This is one of the main reasons for the loss of thermal efficiency.


Al Jazeera's Dragan Stanimirović reports, the Stanari project is causing mixed reactions from local residents and concern to environmental groups about health impacts and CO2 emissions. (Not available in English)


Environmental permit not compliant with pollution standards

Since 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a member of the Energy Community, which requires all members to commit themselves to develop a common regulatory framework for energy markets and abide by certain EU legislation.

This meant that while developing the Stanari project, Bosnia and Herzegovina was obliged to adhere to the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive (LCPD), which regulates emissions limit values from new and existing combustion plants. Originally, the Republika Srpska authorities did not include the emissions limit values from the LCPD in Stanari’s environmental permit, but rather much laxer standards from domestic legislation with emissions 2-3 times higher.

In January 2014 an official complaint was submitted to the Energy Community secretariat by the Center for Environment from Banja Luka and in July 2015 it was announced that the Stanari environmental permit would be updated following changes in the Republika Srpska legislation.

Nevertheless, this still puts Stanari several years behind EU legislation, and it is highly likely that it will have to undergo additional investments to meet stricter emissions standards before the end of its lifetime.


Latest developments


Blog entry | August 17, 2017

New EU rules entering into force today, to limit pollution from power plants, will also apply in most Western Balkan countries. But the region’s governments are so far acting like they don’t exist.

Blog entry | June 16, 2017

Almost all the countries in the Balkan region are planning to build new coal power plants, but there has been virtually no mention of the need for them to comply with new pollution standards.

Press release | June 14, 2017

Almost none of the new coal power plants planned in the Western Balkans will meet new, stricter EU pollution standards, according to a new analysis by CEE Bankwatch Network, released today.

Download the analysis as pdf.

Blog entry | June 1, 2017

The European Union’s and China’s joint commitment to climate action is tarnished by Chinese support for and the EU’s neglect of coal projects in the Balkans, as a new briefing shows. But it is still not too late to change course.

Blog entry | March 29, 2017

At least 9 new lignite power plants are being planned in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, but according to our new report their feasibility studies do not take into account the effect of CO2 prices. As a result, when these countries join the EU, the plants will not be competitive anymore and will need to be closed down – just like the many coal power plants in Western Europe that are now being shut. The taxpayers in the Western Balkans will end up footing the bill.


Study | June 14, 2017

The new reference document on Best Available Techniques for Large Combustion Plants (LCP BREF) and its implications for new coal.

Briefing | June 1, 2017

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania all plan new lignite power plants during the next few years. In contrast, most EU countries are giving up building new coal plants and seven EU states are already coal-free. Since the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have virtually halted lending for new coal power plants, most of them are due to be financed by Chinese state banks – ExIm Bank and the China Development Bank.

Briefing | March 29, 2017

This briefing analyses ten coal-fired power plant projects across the Western Balkans and finds that, once the cost of carbon emissions allowances are factored in, they could become a serious liability for both the companies involved and the public.

Briefing | November 14, 2016

Coal is the single biggest contributor to global climate change. But governments and investors planning new coal capacities have a range of flimsy arguments why coal would be the best or the only alternative. This briefing busts a number of myths surrounding coal, such as "coal is cheap", "alleviates poverty" or "coal is clean".

Study | November 14, 2016

This report reveals how and why promises for new jobs in south-east Europe’s coal sector are exaggerated. Hardly any coal operations across the region are economically viable, and as a result many coal workers, especially in the mines, are set to lose their jobs, even if the plans for countless new power plants materialise. Governments, coal workers and their wider communities need to work together towards a just transition.

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