Bosnia Greens Celebrate as Federation Bans Small Hydropower Plants

The upper house of the Federation entity parliament on Thursday confirmed changes to the entity's Law on Electricity to ban the building of small hydropower plants up to 10 MWh because of their negative impact on the environment.

The decision follows a decade-long struggle between environmental activists and construction companies. Activists argue that the small hydropower plants damage rivers and biodiversity and cause problems for local residents.

The law was adopted with 33 votes in favour, one abstention and no votes against.

"This historic decision came as a result of the pressure and ten-year struggle of activists in numerous local communities who resolutely opposed the construction of ecocidal mini-HPPs," Fondacija ACT, an NGO that has been leading the campaign against small hydropower plants, said.

More than 60,000 signatures were collected during the public campaign, which featured two important protests on the Kruscica river where local women spent more than 504 days in improvised accommodation to prevent the building of a small hydropower plant.

Another major protest happened on the Neretvica river where locals and activists stopped the work of construction companies on four different occasions.

In Bosnia's other entity, the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, small hydropower plants are not banned but environmentalists are campaigning against them there, too.

In 2021, the 119 small hydropower plants built in Bosnia produced just 2.54 per cent of the electricity produced in the country, and on average they employ just one or two people each because of automation.

Although the new law bans the issue of new concessions for new mini-hydropower plants, it is still not clear what will happen with...

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