Село Бозовце, Шар планина | Фото: Мета.мк

The concessionaires of 4 out of the 7 micro hydro power plants planned for the Shar Mountain National Park in North Macedonia have requested reimbursement of their invested assets as a condition to give up their concessions. Only one concessionaire of 2 micro hydro power plants has withdrawn entirely and is not requesting compensation. As part of the new national park, 11 micro hydro power plants were built and put into use, and 4 are under construction.

The Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning isn’t revealing the amounts requested by the concessionaires, since the Commission consisting of members of the ministries of environment, finance, and economy are still analyzing the requests and the evidence, and the negotiations with the concessionaires are still underway.

“At the moment, the negotiations with all the concessionaires are underway that are encompassed by Article 17 of the Law on declaring a part of Shar Mountain a protected area of the second category, a national park with established temporary protective areas. These are MHEC Pena 82, MHEC Ljubotenska 66, MHEC Vratnichka 67, MHEC Belovishka 107, MHEC Mazdracha, and MHEC Leshochka 100 and 101,” informed the Ministry of Environment.

Out of these, the concessionaire of Leshochka 100 and 101 has filed a statement that is withdrawing from the investments without requesting any reimbursement, while concessionaires for Pena 82, Ljubotenska 66, Vratnichka 67 and Belovishka 107 have filed a request for reimbursement of assets for the contract performance up to this moment.

The abolishment of the concessions for these energy facilities has been requested for a long time by environmental civic organizations. The reasons are the obvious destruction of nature and the damage to biodiversity and on the other hand, there is a minimal contribution to the supply of electricity.

Gjorgji Mitrevski of Eco Consciousness is stressing that the environmentalists are expecting the Bern Convention’s recommendations to be obeyed.

“It is expected that the the country signatory of the Bern Convention for biodiversity protection to implement the recommendations in the national legislation. We are having constant communication with the Convention and from the moment the recommendations have passed until now, there hasn’t been any activity,” said Mitrevski.

It was only several months ago when the Bern Convention recommended avoiding building hydro-power plants in protected areas. Also, the recommendation of energy facilities not to be built anywhere outside of protected areas if their building will have an effect on protected areas. Mitrevski stresses that this clearly indicates that all planned facilities in the national parks must not be built and those outside have to be revised.

The final decision for compensating the concessionaire will have to be made by the government, said the Ministry of Environment.