Smoke rises from the chimneys of a coal power plant near the town of Obiliq, on the outskirts of … [+]
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International owner and operator of power assets ContourGlobal abandoned its plans to build a new coal power plant in Kosovo on Tuesday, one month after the creation of the new government under Albin Kurti’s leadership. The company announced a new focus will be put on alternative energy forms, including renewables.
The construction of a 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant is the third project of this kind to be canceled in the region in the past six months.
While the previous government had committed to buying electricity from the new plant, the new coalition formed after previous minister Ramush Haradinaj’s resignation didn’t do the same.
“The political situation in Kosovo since July has made it impossible for the project to meet the required milestones by its project completion date, and therefore cannot go forward,” a spokesman from ContourGlobal told Forbes.com.
Kurti’s party is the leftist Vetevendosje (Self Determination), which created a coalition government in February together with the centre-right Democratic League of Kosovo.
In an interview for BIRN’s televised program ‘Jeta ne Kosove’ in December, Kurti defined the country’s reliance on coal as “unsustainable”. “Currently, coal is the necessary evil that we need to be free of, and the faster we do so, the better,” he said. “We need to look into the possibility of getting rid of it.”
Commenting on ContourGlobal’s decision, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe’s energy policy coordinator for Southeast Europe Viktor Berishaj said: “This is great news for clean air and a sustainable future for Kosovo.”
“Where previous governments wasted time and effort in futile attempts to keep coal alive at the expense of the taxpayers, their health and the climate, there now can and must emerge an inclusive and strategic process of building a Paris Agreement-compatible, climate-neutral, economically viable and renewable future beyond coal.”
“This is great news for Western Balkans too, because it helps all countries in the region to abandon coal, free up resources and focus on accelerated deployment of the region’s enormous renewable energy potential in place of what is now Europe’s most polluting coal fleet”
ContourGlobal’s president and CEO Joseph C. Brandt also declared in a preliminary results announcement that they “see many opportunities for further growth, including organic, greenfield and acquisitions.”
“Kosovo was due to be our last coal development project, and in the future we will not develop or acquire coal power plants,” the spokesman added. “As a result we are able to move more rapidly towards our objective of continuing to reduce CO2 emissions in our portfolio, and focus on renewable and high efficiency thermal assets.”