Bosnia accused of breaking Energy Community rules over Ugljevik power plant expansion

Bosnia accused of breaking Energy Community rules over Ugljevik power plant expansion
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia August 6, 2017

The Energy Community secretariat has sent an opening letter to Bosnia & Herzegovina, launching a case related to the environmental impact  assessment of the planned Ugljevik III thermal power plant in Republika Srpska.

Ugljevik III was one of several planned coal-fired plants in the Balkans which environmental group CEE Bankwatch Network says do not meet the new stricter EU pollution standards.

Now the Energy Community secretariat has said that the environmental impact assessment procedure of Ugljevik III was not carried out in compliance with the Energy Community acquis communautiare on environment.

“In particular, the secretariat took the view that the permitting procedure failed to fully address all direct and indirect impact of the projects as well is its potential transboundary impacts, as required by the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. Furthermore, the secretariat found that the directive’s provisions on public participation were not fully respected,” the secretariat said in a statement.

Sending the opening letter to Bosnia will give the country a chance to react and provide the secretariat more information so that it can establish all necessary factual and legal background for the case.

The Energy Community previously sanctioned Bosnia for a year starting from October 2015 for not reforming its energy sector. A year later, the sanctions were not extended as the country signed an agreement with the Energy Community, obliging it to solve all remaining issues, including adopting the necessary gas regulations and legislation on national level within six months.

However, as Bosnia has not solved the issues, it was warned in March it should amend its legislation.

Signatories to the Energy Community treaty, which aims to bring prospective EU members into line with EU energy policy, have committed to a binding target for renewable energy to be reached by 2020. A key step towards this goal is adopting renewable action plans.