Stanari lignite power plant, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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-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.
Stanari power plant under construction in early 2014
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The plant officially started commercial operations in September 2016, but was already out of date in terms of environmental standards. Its environmental permit stipulates compliance only with the older EU Large Combustion Plants (LCP) Directive, not with the newer Industrial Emissions Directive.
It is also questionable whether the plant is as profitable as expected. In May 2017 media reported that Croatia’s HEP is considering buying the Stanari power plant from EFT, or a 50% share in it, raising questions about its profitability. No further information has become available since then.
During the project’s development a number of problems were 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 a smaller environmental impact and therefore does not need a new study, several other changes were involved that could alter the situation:
- The project was originally planned to have a net thermal efficiency of 43 percent but the new version is down to 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.
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Environmental permit not compliant with pollution standards
Since 2006, Bosnia-Herzegovina has been a party to the Energy Community Treaty, which requires all members to abide by certain EU legislation in the energy sector.
This meant that while developing the Stanari project, Bosnia-Herzegovina was obliged to adhere to the EU Large Combustion Plants Directive, which regulates emissions limit values from power plants. Originally, the Republika Srpska authorities did not include the emissions limit values from the LCP Directive 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.
The plant is also under examination by the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee following a complaint by the Center for Environment from Banja Luka, as no transboundary environmental assessment was carried out, despite the plant being only around 40 km from the Croatian border.