The City of Banja Luka has rejected an initiative for the construction of the Krupa hydropower plant (HPP) on the Vrbas river, as it was not backed by an environmental impact study, Mayor Igor Radojicic said following a recent meeting with representatives of 36 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) gathered in the Coalition for Vrbas.
According to Balkan Green Energy News, Radojicic explained that the document laying out the initiative to build a 14.4 MW hydropower plant on the Vrbas river in the Krupa area, submitted in April by Hidroelektrane na Vrbasu, a subsidiary of power utility Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS), was sent back to the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining of Republika Srpska.
“Even though this is a legal requirement, the initiative seeking the City of Banja Luka’s opinion did not contain an environmental impact assessment and the city administration, therefore, cannot issue a positive opinion. Another important prerequisite that was not met was to produce a separate spatial plan for the area of the Vrbas canyon, even though this, too, is a legal requirement given that the canyon is a protected area,” Radojicic said, adding that NGOs gathered in the Coalition for Vrbas warned him that the initiative does not deal with the issue of impact on the environment and the quality of water and air.
He recalled that the city assembly opposed similar plans in 2005, when a negative opinion was issued concerning a proposal to build new HPPs on the Vrbas river.
On April 16th, the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining asked for the City of Banja Luka’s opinion on a request for a concession to be awarded in a negotiated procedure for the construction of HPP Krupa on the Vrbas river, within the HPP Bocac area, in the settlement of Krupa, part of the City of Banja Luka. The concession was sought by ERS’s subsidiary Hidroelektrane na Vrbasu.