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Hydropower Plant on the River Komarnica, Montenegro

The project of construction of HPP on the river Komarnica has faced opposition by the NGOs and it is currently stopped due to the potential geological problems. However, it remains considered of strategic importance by the Montenegrin government.


The construction of HPP "Komarnica" was first mentioned in 1972, followed with additional studies of energy use in the basin of the river Komarnica, tributary of the bigger Montenegrin River Piva, in the mid-eighties. The HPP Komarnica is planned as as peak hydro power plant, with the dam at the end of slowing down of the existing accumulation of HPP Piva. In 2012, the Montenegrin government adopted a draft detailed plan for a multipurpose accumulation on the river Komarnica as a part of “The Energy Development Strategy of Montenegro by 2025” (EDS 2025), and some preparatory work has started (galleries and boreholes at both coasts of the river). The Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism assured that construction of the HPP would not affect the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the area, and would instead help development of local communities and ensure a reliable source of clean energy. The local government had a different opinion on the project; therefore the authority of Municipality Plužine supported the idea of the HPP, while the nearby Municipality Šavnik, the poorest municipality in the country, was in disapproval.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hydropower Plant on the River Komarnica, Montenegro
Location of conflict:Šavnik and Plužine
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Area under the HPP impact 8.800 ha.

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Project area:9,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project240,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Up to 10.000
Start of the conflict:04/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Elektroprojekt from Slovenia - Author of the technical study for HPP Komarnica from 1988
Sinohydro Corporation Limited (Sinohydro) from China - Potential investor
Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) from Montenegro - Project leader
NORINCO International Cooperation Ltd. (NORINCO International ) from China - Interested in HPP Komarnica
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro, The Ministry of Economy of Montenegro, The Environment Protection Agency of Montenegro, University of Montenegro, The Institute for Nature Conservation of Montenegro; The government of Slovenia; The government of Turkey
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:NGO Ozon, NGO Green Home,
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Representatives of NGOs are aware of the energy deficit in Montenegro and are not against the construction of hydro power facilities, namely they criticized the old EIA for not including proposal of alternative solution except for stopping the project. NGOs require respect of international standards and domestic legislation in the process of the HPP Komarnica planning and construction.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The project is temporarily stopped, due to a serious problem with the geology of terrain where the dam was planned, and accordingly withdrawal of the offers by potential investors, until the result of the geological investigation are known. After the round table organised by NGOs it is agreed to do a new impact assessment study on the potential impact of the Komarnica HPP on the environment and future development of the area. The Chinese company "Norinco International" and the governments of Slovenia and Turkey demonstrated interest in cooperating with the government of Montenegro on the HPP construction projects, including the one on the Komarnica River. In addition, according to a draft of “Action Plan for Implementation of Energy Development Strategy- Montenegro until 2013 for the period 2016-2020”, start on construction of the HPP Komarnica was planned for 2016.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

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Šavnik: Izgradnja HE Komarnica ne smije ugroziti prirodne ljepote
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Press Relase for HPP on Komarnica River
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Predmet: Javna rasprava za DPP i SEA za HE Komarnica
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Roundtable: Evaluation of strategic environment assessment for multipurpose accumulations on the River Komarnica
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Stali projekti velikih HE: Za Moraču niko ne pita, za HE na Komarnici problem geologija
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Predrag Sekulić: HE Komarnica bi koštala 180 miliona eura
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Izgradnja HE Komarnica ne sme ugroziti prirodne lepote
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Šavnik: U jezeru pliva profit
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Montenegro: Large hydrological projects stopped due to the lack of investors interest
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Green Home: Komarnica i kanjon Nevidio da budu dio NP Durmitor
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Nikšić: Poplave zbog izgradnje hidroelektrane?
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Plan za gradnju hidrocentrala u Crnoj Gori
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Kineski Norinco zainteresovan da gradi elektrane na Morači i Komarnici
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Potpisan Memorandum o razumijevanju između Vlade Crne Gore i NORINCO International Coorporation Ltd
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Green home: Prijedlog o izgradnji HE Morača i Komarnica krši postulate zaštite javnog interesa
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other documents

Informacija o aktivnostima na pripremi Akcionog plana za sprovođenje Strategije razvoja energetike Crne Gore do 2030. godine, za period 2016 – 2020 godina Describes the process of preparation of the Action Plan for Implementation of Energy Development Strategy- Montenegro until 2013 for the period 2016-2020
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Meta information
Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1534
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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