Das Kalivaç Projekt
Das erste Wasserkraftwerk, das von der Planungs- in die Bauphase getreten ist, ist das Kalivaç-Projekt nahe der Stadt Tepelena. Der Bau hat 2007 begonnen, wurde jedoch mehrere Male unterbrochen. Ursprünglich haben die italienische Becchetti Group und die Deutsche Bank die Hauptfinanzierung übernommen. (http://www.begspa.com/eng/idroelettrico.htm).
Seit 10 Jahren ruhen die Bauarbeiten erneut. Erst etwa 30 Prozent des Projekts sind fertig gestellt – zum Glück für die Vjosa und ihre BewohnerInnen. Noch fließt die Vjosa frei, doch wie lange noch? Der Kalivaç-Staudamm würde den Sedimenttransport des Flusses von den Bergen bis zur Mündung in die Adria blockieren und damit den natürlichen Herzschlag des gesamten Flusssystems stoppen.
Durch das Blockieren der Sedimente käme es unterhalb des Staudamms zu einer verstärkten Tiefenerosion, die sich auf den gesamten folgenden Flussabschnitt auswirken würde. Sogar das Flussdelta an der Adria wäre betroffen. Die Auwälder würden auf einer Strecke von fast 100 Kilometern geschädigt. Sämtliche Lebensräume in und entlang der Vjosa würden in Mitleidenschaft gezogen.
Die Vjosa und ihre Zuflüsse sind vor allem für wandernde Fischarten von großer Bedeutung, da sie auf klare, kalte und schotterreiche Gebirgsbäche angewiesen sind. So einen Lebensraum bietet der Hauptzufluss der Vjosa – der 85 Kilometer lange Drinos. Sowohl der Drinos als auch die obere Vjosa würden durch den Kalivaç Staudamm vom unteren Vjosatal und der Adria abgeschnitten werden. So ginge eines der letzten und größten verbliebenen Habitate für den Europäischen Aal sowie zahlreiche weitere wandernde Fischarten in Albanien verloren.
In Albanien streiten Umweltschützer, Unternehmer und Anwohner über den Bau neuer Staudämme. Die letzten natürlichen Wasserläufe Europas sind in Gefahr – und mit ihnen einzigartige Biotope.
Wenn Paul Meulenbroek ins Wasser steigt, bleibt man besser am Ufer zurück. Auf dem Rücken trägt er einen kleinen Motor, der Geräusche macht wie ein Laubbläser. Doch es geht nicht darum, Luft zu pusten – der Biologe aus Wien erzeugt mit dem Motor Strom für ein 400 Volt starkes elektrisches Feld, mit dem er Fische kurzzeitig lähmt und dann leicht einkeschern kann.
Meulenbroek steht bis zur Hüfte im blau schimmernden Wasser der Vjosa, ein wilder Fluss im Süden Albaniens. Sein Gummianzug schützt ihn vor den Stromstößen. „Hier gibt es viele Jungfische“, sagt der Biologe und gibt seinem Kollegen am Ufer ein silbern glänzendes Tier von knapp zehn Zentimetern Länge.
Die Forscher wollen sich einen Überblick über die im Wasser lebenden Arten verschaffen.
Das Vjosa-Tal, rund 50 Kilometer vor der Flussmündung in die Adria, gleicht einem Paradies. Keine Straße, keine Brücke stört die Idylle. Immer wieder verzweigt sich der 270 Kilometer lange Strom in seinem Unterlauf auf breiten Schotterbänken in zwei oder mehr Arme, praktisch mit jedem Hochwasser verschiebt sich sein Bett.
Grüne Hügel flankieren das breite Tal, ganz oben liegt selbst Anfang Mai noch Schnee. Auf den Hängen wachsen Olivenbäume, Bauern bestellen ihre Felder auf den fruchtbaren Ebenen, eine Schafsherde zieht mit Glockengeläut vorbei.
Doch die Idylle im Süden Albaniens ist bedroht. Hier nahe Poçem, wo Meulenbroek gerade einen Fisch nach dem anderen aus dem Wasser holt, könnte schon bald ein Damm gebaut werden für ein Wasserkraftwerk. Der typische Lebensraum der Flussfische wäre zerstört. Viele andere Tier- und Pflanzenarten drohten zu verschwinden. Die Bauern aus dem benachbarten Dorf Kutë verlören ihre Lebensgrundlage, weil ihre Weiden und Felder unter Wasser stünden.
Albanien ist noch kein EU-Mitglied, doch auch hier ist bei Großprojekten wie einem Staudamm eine Umweltverträglichkeitsprüfung gesetzlich vorgeschrieben. Das türkische Unternehmen Kovlu Energji, das den Staudamm errichten will, hat eine solche Prüfung tatsächlich vorgelegt. Durchgeführt wurde diese von einer privaten Consultingfirma aus Tirana.
Doch für den Wiener Zoologieprofessor Friedrich Schiemer ist sie schlicht „eine Karikatur“. „Das Papier besteht zu großen Teilen aus Passagen, die aus anderen Gutachten eins zu eins kopiert wurden. Eine Bestandsaufnahme vor Ort hat es nie gegeben.“…………………..http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/uebermorgen/albanien-der-vjosa-fluss-ist-das-letzte-blaue-wunder-europas-und-in-gefahr-a-1146095.html
Mit Betrug Geld machen, noch mehr Millionen in Unfugs Programme, mit kriminellen Partnern stecken
„““ Entwicklungshilfe von oben macht nur „die oben“ reich
Wissen die Migrationskrisen-Politiker das nicht? Oder wollen sie es gar nicht wissen? Weil sie nur Action-Show machen wollen, die nächsten Wahlen im Blick? Entwicklungshilfe von oben macht nur „die oben“ reich, bei den Armen kommt nichts an. Die haben keine Jobs, keine Perspektive. Und die machen sich deshalb auf den Weg……………………. Nur eine wirtschaftliche Entwicklung von unten hat dauerhaft eine Chance
Manche werden trotzdem emigrieren. Aus Kriegsgebieten und Terror-Regionen sowieso. Da kann nur Frieden den Exodus stoppen. Aber überall dort, wo Armut und Hunger die Menschen zu Migranten macht, werden viele bleiben und eine wirtschaftliche Entwicklung von unten einleiten. Und nur die hat dauerhaft eine Chance………“““
und der wegen Drogen Schmuggel vorbestrafte Super Gangster Fatmir Mediu, der von der EU 140 Millionen € als Umwelt Minister erhielt, welche natürlich spurlos verschwanden im korurpten Enterprise der EU Botschaften. Die praktisch nur in Betrugs Projekten auftretende EBRD Bank, ist genauso dabei, wie die KfW.
A hydropower plant, which the Austrian company ENSO is building in the Lengarica River in southern Albania with financing
by the IFC, threatens to ruin a famous canyon, BIRN can reveal.
|The Lengarica canyon is a monument of nature, which enjoyes category 1 protection | Photo by : Lindita Cela|
The heavy-duty trucks and earth-moving machinery working to construct a hydropower plant on the Lengarica River in southern Albania, close to the Greek border, look like alien imports in this pristine natural environment.
The river has cut a four-kilometre-long canyon through the limestone in the heart of the Hotova Pine national park, which is host to a series of thermal water springs, renowned for healing qualities, as well as a 17th-century bridge.
This ensemble of natural and cultural monuments enjoys the protection of the law. However, despite the law, and the area’s natural and cultural value, the government is allowing a hydropower plant to be built on the river, even though environmentalists fear it will severely damage the canyon.
The hydropower plant is being financed by the International Finance Corporation, IFC, the commercial arm of the World Bank, and is being constructed by an Austrian company, Enso Hydro, through a local subsidiary, Lengarica & Energy.
Documents obtained by BIRN and interviews with experts and government officials show that Lengarica & Energy’s initial application for a permit was rejected, owing to its negative impact on the Lengarica canyon and Hotova Pine national park.
However, an environmental permit for the project was ultimately approved, apparently following political pressure.
The river canyon is a natural monument enjoying Category 1 protection status under Albanian law, “which does not allow for any sort of construction,” Zamir Dedej, head of Albania’s Institute for Nature Protection, recalled.
Enso Hydro admits that the plant is being constructed in a “sensitive” natural environment, but insists that the project will have no impact on the canyon itself.
The company says that while it is using water that flows in the canyon, it is not actually building inside it, in the Category 1 area.
It also underlines that it has received all the construction permits it needs from the government – and says it is up to the authorities to monitor compliance with the permits.
“We were aware that it was a sensitive area,” Lengarica & Energy director Wolfgang Kropfl, said.
The World Bank, which controls 20 per cent of the project through its investment in Lengarica & Energy, underlines that it reviewed the project under IFC Environmental Performance Standards criteria before deciding to finance it.
Albania’s centre-left government took power in September 2013 after its predecessor had already given the project the final go-ahead. In the face of protests by environmental groups, it has set up a taskforce to review the potential environmental impact.
The Lengarica canyon is considered an exceptional natural monument owing to its geological form and the thick vegetation, which are home many species of birds.
Together with the Benja thermal springs and the 17th-century Kadiu Bridge, the canyon has drawn a growing number of tourists to the Hotova Pine national park. They have become an important source of revenue for local residents.
“People in Albania act like there is no tomorrow; they don’t think about the future,” Gorgio Ponti, coordinator of the tourists’ hospitality centre in the nearby town of Permet, complained.
“It’s paradoxical that the Albanian government wants to develop tourism in the area – and then opts to build a power plant,” he added.
‘We made a good deal’:
|The thermal springs of Benja with the 17th century Kadiu bridge in the background | Photo by : Lindita Cela|
The Lengarica project first took life in 2008, when the government awarded a concession to a little-known Albanian company, Hasi Energji, to build two small hydropower plants on the Lengarica.
Hasi Energji, which had little capital, then sold the concession in a series of transactions to Enso Hydro, which was scouting the possibilities of hydro power in Albania.
The Austrian company specializes in small hydropower plants, with plants in Austria, Norway and Turkey, as well as Albania.
To finance the project, Enso Hydro sought financing from the IFC and a German bank. Construction began in the summer of 2013, despite the objections of local environmental groups.
|Flood of power plant contracts:Lengarica is not the only hydropower plant project that threatens a naturally protected area in Albania.BIRN has discovered that over eight years, the former centre-right government of Sali Berisha awarded dozens of licenses to build power plants in natural parks, which experts say were poorly planned, and which environmentalist warn could cause irreparable damage to the environment if work went ahead.These projects are only a portion of the 435 hydropower plant concessions awarded in Albania over the last decade, often to local companies with little and no experience in the energy field.Only 44 of the hydropower plants have since secured financing, been constructed and are now producing energy.The process of issuing these concessions has also been marked by corruption allegations reaching to the highest echelons of power.The Prosecutor’s office twice investigated corruption and conflict of interest allegations over power plant concessions.One case concerned the Democratic Party MP, Albana Vokshi. The other was against Ilir Meta, head of the Socialist Movement for Integration and now speaker of parliament.The prosecutor’s office dismissed the case against Vokshi, while Meta was declared innocent following a controversial trial before the Supreme Court in January 2012.Many small companies, like Hasi Energji, meanwhile now have hydropower plant concession contracts and are seeking foreign investors like Enso Hydro.Experts doubt the quality of many of these projects and are suspicious of the government filters that approved them.Farudin Hoxha, engineer of the biggest dam in Albania and a respected expert on hydropower plants, says many of these projects are poorly designed.He spent almost two decades on designing two small hydropower plants, Suha 1 and Suha 2.“I am can’t state with authority in what timeframe these project were designed – but I am sure none of them took 20 years,” he said.
Another concern among experts is the way that the former government under Berisha handed out concessions in the absence of a serious study on the hydropower capacity of the country.
Marjana Coku, an official in the Agency of Natural Resources, said the whole process of issuing the contracts worked back to front.
“The government should first have determined where to build and then examined the project proposals – but the opposite happened,” Coku said.
After Edi Rama’s centre-left government took office last September, Rama initiated a technical review of the projects, following the accusations it had made earlier while in opposition of conflicts of interest.
The Ministry of Energy has since revoked the concessions of 30 hydropower plants – for breaching contract terms concerning the timeframe of construction, lack of technical and financial capacities of the companies concerned and – in some cases – the negative impact on the environment.
Documents secured by BIRN show that Hasi Energji originally planned to build a complex of villas near the Benja thermal spring and applied for a permit with this in mind in 2006.
However, the company then changed its mind and applied for a concession to build two small hydropower plants, Lengarica 1 and Lengarica 2, with an installed capacity of 3,700 and 2,500kW. It obtained a contract in 2008.
When Hasi Energji obtained the concession for the plants from the Ministry of Economy, it had capital assets of only 100,000 lek (€850), the minimum required by law to register as a company. Its only business experience was in the import and export of food materials.
Astrit Dhromaj,a former shareholder in the company, says the company never intended to develop the power plants itself. “We wanted to find a foreign company [to invest], which is what we did,” he told BIRN in a telephone interview.
In 2009, the Minister of Economy, Genc Ruli signed a contract with Hasi Energji, amending the concessionary agreement that the company had received earlier and reducing the number of power plants in the concession from two to one.
However, this single plant would have a much larger installed capacity than was originally planned, of 8,906 kW.
With the amended concession in its hands, Hasi Energji created a joint company with Enso Hydro in 2011, Lengarica & Energy, which first transferred 20 per cent of the shares to the Austrians and then sold them all the remaining shares for €800,000.
On August 3, 2011, Hydro took control of all the shares of Lengarica & Energy.
Hasi Energji spent between 15,000 and 20,000 euro for the concession before selling it. “This was an important project and I think we made a good deal,” Dhromaj, the former shareholder in Hasi Energji, said.
Sudden change of heart:
After Enso Hydro took control of the company, the project to develop the larger single hydropower plant on the Lengarica moved forward.
The one problem was that since the time that Hasi Energji first obtained a concession and an environmental permit in December 2008, the government had declared the Hotova Pine area a national park.
This decision divided the park into four zones: a core area; an area of sustainable development; a recreational area; a traditional use area.
Following its acquisition of Lengarica & Energy, Enso Hydro developed a new project for the power plant.
Water would be taken in from the upper side of the canyon and deviated through a four-kilometre underground tunnel, which would then stretch another 3.75 kilometres above ground through tubes before reaching the power plant.
Of the total flow of the river at its peak, the power plant would use 8 metric cubes per second, leaving only 0.2 metric cubes per second to flow into the canyon, which the company says is enough to sustain its ecosystem.
When Lengarica & Energy bought the concession from Hasi Energji in 2011, it also had to reapply for a new environmental permit with the Ministry of Environment because the project now extended inside the boundaries of the Hotova Pine park.
Documents obtained by BIRN show that when Lengarica & Energy first applied for an environmental permit, the Ministry of Environment rejected it on October 4th, 2011.
The commission tasked with reviewing the project said building a power plant inside a national park protected by law was not feasible.
“Implementation of this project would cause considerable negative effects and damage the canyon in breach of the 2002 law on protected areas,” the ministry said.
“The deviation of the water flow will also damage the thermal springs near Benja at the end of the canyon,” it added.
|Tunnel contructed by Lengarica & Energji for the hydro power plant | Photo by : Lindita Cela|
The plant could “only be built if it used the water on the lower side of the canyon, after passing the Benja thermal water springs,” it continued.
However, after Lengarica & Energy reapplied for an environmental permit, only two months later, without changing the project, the same ministerial commission changed its mind. It approved the plant’s construction on January 21st, 2012.
A former ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BIRN that the change of heart was the result of pressure applied by two MPs from the then ruling Democratic Party
“After I refused [to approve the project], I was fired directly on the order of the minister,” the official said.
The 2002 law on protected areas protects the Lengarica canyon from all development under Category I status. Article 5, section 2 of the law forbids all construction work in Category I areas.
However, Lengarica & Energy says this article of the law is not relevant to the project, which only involves diverting water away from the canyon, not construction work in the actual canyon.
“If it [the work] was not allowed, the government should have not given us the environmental permit,” company lawyer Vilma Gjyshi said. “As we were granted the permit, we have a right to develop the project,” she added.
Wolfgang Kropfl, director of Lengarica & Energy, says the power plant only stretches into so-called Category 2 protected areas – and work can take place in Category 2 areas with the necessary permits. “We are not working in the canyon,” Kropfl noted.
However, Sokol Abazaj, who worked as a consultant with Enso Hydro to develop the Lengarica project until 2012, told BIRN that Kropfl knew the project was controversial and had sought the area’s removal from the national park.
“Lengarica & Energy asked for the area to be removed from the national park,” Abazaj maintained.
“This request was never approved by Albanian institutions, although Kropfl, administrator of Lengarica & Energy… repeated it more than once,” he added.
Abazaj claims that conflicts over the environmental consequences of the project became a source of dispute between him and Kropfl.
“I told him that in Albania… there are laws and regulations that cannot be breached,” Abazaj said. “It will come out one day in the media that there is real catastrophe there,” he added, referring to the project.
Kropfl dismisses the allegations. The company had no reason to seek the removal of the planned area of work from the national park, he said. “As the company, we did nothing about this. Why should we do any removing, or lobby for this?” he asked.
|Construction of the Lengarica power plant | Photo by : Lindita Cela|
Kropfl also argues that – by deviating water away from the canyon – the project may prevent the lower part of the river from flooding during times of peak flow.
The IFC, meanwhile, told BIRN that the project had been evaluated “according to the IFC Sustainability Framework and the IFC Environmental and Social Performance Standards, which promote the protection of biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources.
“Based on information provided by the company, the Lengarica Project does not fall under protected area Category 1,” the IFC said. “The intake and tunnel fall under Category 2, and the… power house and part of substation fall under Category 3,” it added.
Referring to the 2002 law on protected areas, it continued: “Everything is designed in compliance with Article 6, point 3 a) of the law.”
Article 6, point 3 a) of the law does indeed permit activities that “change the natural state of water reservoirs, springs, lakes and water basins”. It says nothing about whether permission extends to such major projects as building hydropower plants, however.
While Lengarica & Energy insists that the plant is being built in the “sustainable development and traditional use” areas of the national park, the December 2008 government decision – which declared the Hotova Pine area a national park – underlined that only economic activity with a minimal impact on the environment should take place in the sustainable development area.
“In the sustainable development area, which serves as a buffer zone to the Category 1 core area, seasonal economic activities (grazing, collecting medicinal plants, secondary products from the forest), are allowed that do not have an impact on the ecological integrity of the ecosystem,” the decision read.
Contacted by BIRN, the ministries of Energy and Environment said they were awaiting the conclusions of a taskforce set up by both ministries, following the complaints by the local community and the environmental groups.
“We will analyze the conclusions of the joint taskforce in order to find out whether the concerns expressed by the community and civil society have any bases,” Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri said.