Alternative study on the social, economic and environmental impact of small HPPs in the Albanian rivers.



Objective and purpose
The study “Environmental alternative for the small HPPs1 in Albania” is initiated by the Regional Environmental Centre – REC Albania and is prepared by a team of experts from Milieukontakt International, Albania and EPER Centre. It is an alternative study brought by the environmental civil society in Albania, which analyses the rapid growth of hydro power across the country vis-a-vis its actual and expected environmental impact. The study was prepared by a team of experts during the period February – July 2015 using an overarching methodology that consists in: i) research analysis, ii) direct meetings, iii) focus group discussions, iv) questionnaires, v) and consulting sessions with civil society organizations. The study aims to bring into a single document alternative elements of hydropower development which looks not only the demand for energy but rather the negative and positive impact of this development into the social, economic and environmental sectors. The direct beneficiaries of this document are the Albanian communities, civil society organizations, local decision takers, state institutions, private sector and media. At the same time this study – a pilot one - serves the researchers and the academic community as a reference document aiming to advance the scientific research in the field of HPP environmental impact.


The methodology

This study was prepared using “expert judgment” in various fields regarding the development process of hydro energy sector, against the actual and expected social and environmental impact. The experts analysed the current institutional and regulatory framework, the current situation and the energy demand trend focusing in HPPs construction, the social, economic and environmental impact by analysing positive and negative study cases from Western Balkan and domestically. A special attention was paid to the cumulative impact of HPP in Albania.


The study limitation

The study brings into a single document various elements which were identified by the team of experts and other partners in several aspects of HPP development. It tries to establish an alternative database of the sector development that looks not only the energy demand but also the real negative and positive impact of this development. The study is limited in its scope, time and data. Nevertheless, this study aims to establish a cornerstone for a more in-depth analysis of the impacts which will become more visible in the years to come. At the same time, the study does not focus into a particular river basin or respective hydropower plant; it is rather targeting the development trend of small HPPs at national level.
1 Based on law no 138, dated 2.05.2013 on “Renewable Energy Sources”, article 15, small HPPs are the ones under 15 MW.


Main findings

1. The capacity and possible potential of small HPPs development is not based in any research analysis document. There is no any official public document, which could tell the necessity and limitation of HPP development. Hence, there is a lack of clear vision, policy and national strategy regarding this sector.
2. The economic contribution of this sector, against its negative effects is almost irrelevant. The contribution of hydro energy sector due to the licensing of 501 small, medium and large HPPs is supposed to be only 2% of GDP, 2 whereas the total contribution of tourism in the national GDP is supposed to be 13.9% in 2013.3
3. The hydropower development does not take into consideration, in any case the cumulative factors of investment and effects of water accumulation for energy use in the lower part of the river until the estuary segments.
4. The planning and construction of HPPs results to be a process of low or complete lack of concerned public consultation, which has generated conflictual cases since at the start of their constructions.



 For more information the complete study:http://issuu.com/milieukontakt/docs/alternativa_mjedisore_e_hece_te_veg/1






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