The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has said that the draft law on renewable energy sources, which provides additional funding for the construction of small hydroelectric power plants, largely ignores the will of Serbian citizens and the obvious consequences for nature caused by their construction, hence, the decision made by the relevant Ministry to continue funding these projects with money from the public budget is unacceptable.
The Serbian government plans to continue subsidizing the construction of small hydroelectric power plants, which according to WWF Adria, “are detrimental of all citizens and rivers in Serbia”, even though for years, citizens, various initiatives and civil society organizations have been suffering because of the problems related to their construction.
“Given that all relevant institutions, as well as Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, know about the non-economic justification for the construction of and subsidies to small hydroelectric power plants, as well as their harmfulness to the environment, biodiversity and local communities, we consider unacceptable the decision of the Ministry to continue funding these harmful projects with taxpayers’ money, regardless of whether they are small hydroelectric power plants or dams,” warned Natasa Milivojevic, representative of WWF Adria.
She underlined that the construction of small hydropower plants “cannot be considered projects of public interest”.
As WWF points out, the Ministry of Energy has continued “with the practice of non-transparent decision-making on issues that are important for the quality of life of citizens. In fact, the deadline for submitting public comments on the draft law has been deliberately short. In January, for instance, only one week was given to citizens to give their opinion on the draft law,” WWF warns.
It was also specified that the draft law was published on the official website of the Ministry of Energy only a day before the deadline for submission of public comments expired, i.e. February 9.
WWF points out that it is vital to fully consider which renewable energy sources have a harmful impact on nature and encourage the use of only those that do not destroy it, unlike hydroelectric power plants.
In addition, “hydropower plants are an obsolete technology that will require increasing investments over time and the damage they cause to people and the environment is unjustifiably great,” said WWF.
This would be further exacerbated by climate change and its impact on ecosystems and aquatic resources, which are already under enormous pressure.
(Novi Magazin, 11.02.2021)
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