Power generator ContourGlobal has cancelled their project to build a 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant in Kosovo. In a report published on Tuesday, the company cited the “political situation” in the country after the new Kurti government came to power following the October 2019 elections.
The company added it has decided to stop building coal plants in the future.
“As a result of the political situation in Kosovo since July, our development project is incapable of reaching its required milestones by the required project completion date in May 2020 so the project cannot proceed,” according to the report.
Former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj signed the contract for Kosova e Re with ContourGlobal in 2017, for a value of €1.3 billion.
The then-opposition harshly criticized the contract for its value and content, as favoring the company over public interest.
The World Bank decided in 2018 not to support the project. “We are required by our by-laws to go with the lowest cost option, and renewables have now come below the cost of coal. So without question, we are not going to do that,” WB officials told journalists.
The planned Kosova e Re (New Kosovo) coal fired power plant would have replaced the two existing coal power plants in the country, and provided for about half of the electricity demand.
Now-Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s plan during the electoral campaign last year was to revitalize the existing power plants, and cancel the contract with ContourGlobal.
Civil society in Kosovo have been opposing the project since it was made public. The Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID) sued the government in March 2019 over the coal power plant contract and environmental damage.
However, today they celebrated the news of withdrawal by ContourGlobal: “In this doom and gloom age, I have been fighting a decade long battle with my friends in #kosid to stop the building of another coal plant in Kosovo. It looks like we won and it feels surreal!” journalist and KOSID activist Jeta Xharra tweeted.