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Montenegro awards rights to develop Komarnica

State-controlled power producer Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) has been awarded a 60-year concession to build and operate the 172 MW Komarnica storage hydropower plant in northern Montenegro.

In a ceremony on 28 August, Minister of Economy Dragica Sekulić handed the concession document for the Komarnica storage project to Igor Noveljić, Chief Executive Officer of the national utility EPCG.

The Komarnica multipurpose project, which will be built on the middle part of the river Komarnica at Lonci, 45 km upstream of the existing 342 MW Piva storage powerplant, will take up to five years to build, at a current estimated cost of between €260 million and €290 million, according to the ministry. The project will feature a 171 m-high concrete arch dam that will impound a reservoir with a total storage capacity of 227 x 106 m3 and an active reservoir volume of 136 x 106 m3. The project will be undertaken either by EPCG alone or with an investment partner. Principally designed for power generation, the project will also result in the further development of the wider area as the reservoir will create opportunities for fish farming, tourism, agriculture and transport.

“We will build Komarnica respecting all environmental protection guidelines without disturbing the natural water regime in the area of the town of Savnik and without negative influences that would endanger the use of the Nevidio Canyon,” said the executive director of EPCG. Noveljić added that the the project would employ 1000 workers from the local area during construction, and would create a further 100 new jobs after commissioning. Final design studies and an environmental and social impact assessment are being carried out on behalf of EPCG by a consortium of Serbia’s Jaroslav Černi Water Institute and Energoprojekt Hidroinženjering.

The dam with a maximum reservoir elevation of 811 m was selected as the optimal solution following an analysis of nine dam types as part of the preliminary design study.

The Government approved in late May a detailed spatial plan for the multipurpose project on the river Komarnica following public consultation (see H&D Issue 4, 2020). The spatial plan, which covers an area of 5577 ha, encompassing the municipalities of Savnik and Pluzine, envisages a lower elevation of the reservoir than the most profitable one, in accordance with the wishes of the local population, reducing the project’s economic feasibility, but protecting the environment.