Albanian industrial confederation demands halt of dam plans at Vjosa River

In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected building development of the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to the country´s Minister of Energy and Industry, Damian Gjiknuri, the Confederation of Albanian industries is calling for a moratorium on the construction of hydroelectric power stations at the Vjosa River and its tributaries.

Recently newly awarded: The concession for the Kalivac dam

© Roland Dorozhani

The Balkan rivers are threatened by a Hydropower Tsunami that will not stop at the Vjosa. At the yet unspoilt wild river, multiple power stations are planned. Now, the Albanian “Konfindustria”, the institution that represents the interests of the country´s 280 major industrial firms, is calling for an end of all current and projected concession processes. It justifies its demand by stating that all previous studies on the economic performance of the hydropower stations were outdated and incomplete and, thus, would not provide any reliable outcome. Alternative energy concepts such as the use of solar panels needed to be involved in the plans instead.

Furthermore, the head of the Confederation of Albanian Industry, Gjergj Buxhuku, is appealing in his letter to conduct the environmental impact assessment according to EU standards. The preservation of the Vjosa River and its tributaries in their current form was of great interest for the EU integration process of Albania, said Buxhuku. Projects that would destroy these freshwater pearls once and for all were not tolerable, he continued.

“It is extraordinary that the national industry positions itself in this clarity and a sign of a growing opposition against the plans for a new hydroelectric power dam”, says EuroNatur project manager Theresa Schiller. “Gjergj Buxhuku´s demand on behalf of the Confederation of Albanian Industry is another major voice in the fight for a free-flowing Vjosa River!”

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