Hydro Power Plant Lešće on the Dobra River, Croatia

HPP Lešće on river Dobra continues operating despite of the fact that it has caused many negative environmental impacts as it has been brought to the attention by the civil society organisations.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns">Hydropower plant Lešće on the Dobra River in Croatia started operating in 2010. It was the first HPP built in Croatia after it became an independent state. As the plant would have capacity of 1% of total Croatian electricity demand (according to politicians), building this plant was one of the steps towards energy independence of the state. The project had been coordinated by Croatian national power company Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP Group), while the plant was built by consortium of three Croatian companies (Končar Inženjering za energetiku i transport d.d.; Ingra d.d., and Konstruktor Inženjering). The capacity of the HPP Lešće is 42.3 MW, it produces 98 GWh per year. The Croatian Government claimed economic viability of the project as it would lower the amount of imported electricity with an estimated cost of 14 million of USD per year. In 2006, when construction work on the HPP begun, Croatian environmental organizations claimed the project would destroy of 13 km of River Dobra Canyon- fragile karst ecosystem. In order to stop the project, NGO Zelena Akcija (Green Action) organized the signing of the online petition and sent a protest letter to the Croatian Government. The NGO main argument was the fact that the project's EIA was elaborated 20 years ago, and it proposed investments in tourism activities (e.g. canyoning) instead. The local government supported the HE project considering it of great importance for the development of the region, and a source of income from the taxes paid by the HEP Group. Furthermore, local communities were satisfied as new roads have been built and water piping system installed as a part of the project. In 2012, two years after launching HPP Lešće, NGOs Pan- Karlova and Zelena akcija, fishermen, recreational users and local people reported following impacts HPP on the environment: lower water temperature negatively impacting fish reproduction; soil erosion; and flooding of surrounding fields in creation of small accumulation. NGOs pointed out that HPP produce only 1% of total electricity produced in Croatia was not enough to justify destruction of the natural area previously proposed for Natura 2000. They also asked for respect of the Law on Environmental Protection from 2007, which does not allow construction if the relevant studies of EIA are older that three year, and have demanded elaboration of the new one. The NGOs added that project contractors have used of interim period between two Environmental Laws to legalize the project. Moreover old EIA was not available to the general public. Finally, the opponents of HPP Lešće demanded from USKOK (Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime) and DORH (The State Attorney's Office of Republic of Croatia) remediation of the damage caused by the project, arguing even for demolition of the dam due to the great amount of negative effects it provoked. Nowadays, HPP Lešće continues working regularly. </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Hydro Power Plant Lešće on the Dobra River, Croatia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/croatia">Croatia</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Karlovac County</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Topica Lešće</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Water Management</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Dams and water distribution conflicts</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/electricity'>Electricity</a><br /><a href='/commodity/water'>Water</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">HPP Lešće is located close to Toplice Lešće, while parts of its construction and reservoirs lay in the area of Generalski Stol, Bosiljevo and Ogulin. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">The HPP Lešće has power of 42.3 MW and annual capacity of 98 GWh. The accumulation lake covers an area of 146 ha, it is 12.61 km long and has a volume of 25.7 million m3. <br/><br/>The dam is 176.5 m long, 52.5 m high and 4 m wide.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>146</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>130,000,000</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>2006</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/hrvatska-elektroprivreda'>Hrvatska Elektroprivreda <small>(HEP Grupa)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/croatia'><small>Croatia</small></a> - <small>Croatian state power company, </small><br /><a href='/company/litostroj-group'>Litostroj Group</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/slovenia'><small>Slovenia</small></a> - <small>Construction and installation of the HPP turbines</small><br /><a href='/company/koncar-inzenjering-za-energetiku-i-transport-dd'>Končar Inženjering za energetiku i transport d.d</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/croatia'><small>Croatia</small></a> - <small>Partner in the consortium</small><br /><a href='/company/konstruktor-inzenjering'>Konstruktor Inženjering</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/croatia'><small>Croatia</small></a> - <small>Consortium partner</small><br /><a href='/company/ingra-dd'>Ingra d.d.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/croatia'><small>Croatia</small></a> - <small>Consortium partner</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>The Government of the Republic of Croatia; USKOK-Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime; DORH-The State Attorney's Office of Republic of Croatia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Ekološko društvo Pan – Karlovac http://eko-pan.hr, The Croatian Biospeleological Society http://www.hbsd.hr, Green Action http://zelena-akcija.hr/en, Udruga studenata biologije http://www.bius.hr, Hrvatsko herpetološko društvo –Hyla http://www.hhdhyla.hr/index.php/en/, Dravska liga http://www.dravska-liga.hr</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Fishermen<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Recreational users<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Media based activism/alternative media<br /> Objections to the EIA<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Desertification/Drought, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Compensation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>In 2006, NGOs demanded stopping of the project, without any success. After two years of HPP operation, in 2012, the NGOs demanded recuperation of the damage caused by the project, arguing even for the dam demolition. The organisations called for respect of the new Law on Environmental Protection that accept only EIA studies not older that three years.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The HPP Lešće continues operating.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> HEP potapa kanjon Dobre<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/ekologija/hep-potapa-kanjon-dobre#news_view" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> UTJECAJ IZGRADNJE HIDROELEKTRANA NA OKOLIŠ: PRIMJER HE LEŠĆE U DOLINI DOBRE<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://zeleniprozor.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/utjecaj-izgradnje-hidroelektrana-na-okolis-primjer-he-lesce-u-dolini-donje-dobre-3/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> 11 newspaper articles about HE Lesce<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.poslovni.hr/tag/hidroelektrana-lesce-2621" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> PreDobra za tako malo struje<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://zelena-akcija.hr/hr/programi/vode/aktivnosti_razno/predobra_za_tako_malo_struje__7" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> FORSIRANJE RIJEKE DOBRE<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/ekologija/forsiranje-rijeke-dobre#news_view" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Zelena akcija zove DORH zbog HE Lešće<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.h-alter.org/vijesti/ekologija/zelena-akcija-zove-dorh-zbog-he-lesce#news_view" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Voda HE Lešće stvorila osam jezera i potopila špilju Ledenicu<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.vecernji.hr/sredisnja-hrvatska/voda-he-lesce-stvorila-osam-jezera-i-potopila-spilju-ledenicu-169875" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Protest against HPP Lešće, 2006</strong> The sign reads “Too Good for 1% of electricity” (Dobra=Good)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/1._izlet_dobra3.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>HPP Lešće vs. Tourism </strong> Before and after construction of HPP Lešće, tourism capacities of the region are considerably lowered.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/heiturizam.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)gmail.com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>02/06/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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