In the case of the proposed hydropower project in Mokrice, which is being developed by the state company Hidroelektrane na podnji Savi – HESS, the government is dominating over nature conservation.
The Mokrice Hydroelectric Power Plant will be an important factor in the green transition in Slovenia, the Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Lower Sava announced after the government supported the project. In accordance with the decision, the investor will still have to implement all the measures recommended in the environmental impact study and the proposals of the Fishermen’s Association.
The government said the public interest in the case is more important than nature conservation in the case as long as the company adheres to the environmental protection process. HESS, which is part of the GEN national group, has commissioned it to provide fish spawning grounds and a passage for aquatic organisms and to monitor the impact.
HESS must restore and maintain natural habitats
The State Administrative Court blocked the project in December 2020 after the Indigenous Fish Fish Association challenged an original government decision issued in the process of obtaining a building permit.
The 28 MW hydropower plant was originally planned to be completed in 2018
The HESS must now sustainably manage the lower Sava and its Krka estuary in this area and introduce the Danube hedgehog, also known as steingressling (Gobio uranoscopus) in accordance with the rules for Natura 2000 sites.
“In the current energy situation, when we are dependent on foreign energy sources, every new production facility is even more important for Slovenia’s energy independence. After all, HPP Mokrice will be able to supply more than 30,000 households with affordable and reliable electricity without the risk of speculative price fluctuations, “the company said. They added that the project includes comprehensive flood protection measures and the restoration and conservation of natural habitats.
Wetlands as the last unit in HESS’s hydropower cascade
In June 2020, HESS applied for a building permit for the Mokrice hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 28 MW. The company already operates the Boštanj, Blanca, Krško and Brežice hydroelectric power plants in the Lower Sava cascade, which is supposed to have six blocks.
The Mokrice hydroelectric power plant, which is expected to be completed in 2018, is the last in line. The location is close to the border with Croatia. Brežice, which has a capacity of 47.4 MW, started operating in 2017.
The European Union has called on the Member States to speed up the licensing process for renewable energy sources, especially for wind and solar projects, in order to end their dependence on Russian fossil fuels as soon as possible. The proposed REPowerEU package and funding package strengthens the climate ambitions set out in the European Green Agreement and the NextGenerationEU Emergency Spending Program of more than € 800 billion for a green recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the plan also envisions a short-term increase in fossil fuel consumption.