September 28, 2012
The government of Kosova will close its 40-year-old thermal power plant Kosovo A, and can count on EU funding when the deadline is respected.
Below is an article published by SETimes.com:
The Kosovo government pledged to shut down one of the country's two thermal power plants, which is the biggest air polluter in the region and build a new one, but some experts are concerned the country may not meet the 2017 deadline.
The decommissioning of the 40-year-old plant -- known as Kosovo A -- and building a new one by that date is part of Kosovo's 2009 energy strategy.
"It is our intention to harmonise the decommissioning of Kosovo A with the beginning of the construction of the New Kosovo power plant to prevent any problems in providing the necessary energy," Gezim Baxhaku, press advisor to Kosovo's economic development minister, told SETimes.
But, Baxhaku said, the government does not have a clear sense of timing on when it will start decommissioning the plant, even though few doubt the process will be finished by 2017.
The economic and development ministry will co-ordinate activities with the Kosovo Energy Corporation and the Energy Community Secretariat in Vienna, given that Kosovo is a signatory of the Energy Community Treaty.
The EU said it will contribute financially if Kosovo respects the agreed deadlines, international and national commitments.
"The amount of the contribution would depend on the calculation of costs which the Kosovo government has yet to make," Stojan Pelko, EU Office spokesperson, told SETimes.
Experts and EU officials agree the plant is extremely damaging to the environment and to citizen's health, and are urging the government to act as soon as possible.
"Gases emitted by the plant exceed many times the parameters designated for environmental protection," Baxhaku said.
"Empirical data confirms the severity of air pollution is one of the reasons that the incidences of cardio-respiratory illnesses in Kosovo are statistically higher than in neighbouring countries, particularly in those municipalities most exposed to Kosovo A's pollution," Pelko said.
Gazmend Mexhuani, 38, who lives 100 metres from the power plant, said he is also concerned about additional environmental damage from the plant.
"The ground around here has been greatly polluted in the past 40 years. While the decision may not have significance for me, it will be useful for my children and for future generations," he said.
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