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Hydro Power Plant Lukovo Pole, National Park Mavrovo, Macedonia


The Lukovo Pole Renewable Energy Project (LPREP) on the Korab mountain range in Northwest Macedonia was proposed by JSC ELEM in December 2010. LPREP is part of bigger ELEM Vardar Valle project. LPREP will divert water from the Radika River and its tributaries through three existing Macedonian Hydro Power Plants: “Vrben” (a run-of-river plant upstream of Mavrovo lake), and “Vrutok” and “Raven” (dam-storage plants downstream of the lake). Namely, the water from Korab catchment will be transferred to Lukovo Pole storage and Crn Kamen River via a 20 km long pipe system. The storage will be generated by construction of a 70 m high dam at Lukovo and would have capacity of about 39 million m3. Besides, the LPREP includes construction of new small hydro-power plant Crn Kamen of about 5 MW. Total energy generation from this project is expected to be 160 GWh/year. The LPREP’s main investor JSC ELEM was granted with a World Bank loan. The World Bank explains its involvement in the project due to the importance of increasing Macedonia’s reliance on renewable energy.

As the LPREP project is situated in the territory of the Mavrovo National Park, the Macedonian environmental CSOs claim the project will negatively impact on the Dlaboka Reka (one of the Radika river tributaries) whose valley is characterized as a fragile ecosystem of unique ancient beech forest, while the storage will cover parts of alpine meadows important in terms of plant biodiversity. Besides, the project will disturb the habitat of the only remaining population of the endangered species of the Balkan lynx (Lynx lynx ssp. Balcanicus). According to CSOs, during the Project preparations, the locality in NP Mavrovo where the HPP is planned to be constructed was downgraded from a strictly protected area (no activities allowed) to an “area with sustainable use” ( construction allowed). In their opinion the project will violate the Law on Nature Protection, Natura 2000, and the Bern, Bonn and Rio conventions. CSOs and local villagers also criticized the lack of the public participation in the decision making process of LPREP and emphasized that the construction of the HPP Lukovo Pole will cause water scarcity in the Radika river neighboring villages, including changes in the local activities and cultural identity.

The project has an international dimension, as it would include changing the local hydrology and diverting river water from the Adriatic to the Aegean drainage basin. This has provoked fear among Albanian citizens and political opposition that the Radika River diversion might reduce the flow of water to their HPPs. Several protests of “Alliance against the diversion of the river” have been organised in front of the Albanian government in Tirana asking from their ministry of foreign affairs to explain the case. According to the opposition, the project violates the current legal framework -the river Drim contract- signed by Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo and Montenegro in 2011. In December 2015, the WB withdrew its funding for the HPP Lukovo Pole.  

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Hydro Power Plant Lukovo Pole, National Park Mavrovo, Macedonia
Country:Macedonia, FYR
Location of conflict:Mavrovo, Rostusha and Gostivar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Interbasin water transfers/transboundary water conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Electricity

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The water from the Radika River will be guided through a 20 km long covered feeder channel.

Lukovo Pole reservoir will have storage capacity of 39 million m3; Dam height of about 70 m high; Max daily flush: 6 m³/s

More then 20 km of road will widened and bitumised;

Directly affected area inside Mavrovo NP: 3,546 ha.

The additional water diverted through Mavrovo River cascade will result in generation of extra 150-MW in HPP Vrutok, 19.2-MW in HPP Raven, and 12.8-MW in HPP Vrben. The Project will provide additional 77Mm3/year to existing HPP.

Mature population Balkan lynx is estimated to count less than 50 individuals.

Project area:150
Level of Investment for the conflictive project83,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:10,000
Start of the conflict:2011
End of the conflict:07/12/2015
Company names or state enterprises:JSC "MACEDONIAN POWERPLANTS" -ELEM (ELEM) from Macedonia, FYR - Investor, granted with the World Bank loan
Poyry from Finland - Contracted to perform environmental and social impact assessments
Relevant government actors:The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Macedonia
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America - Investor
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Front 21/42:;

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Foreign political parties and citizents
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures


Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Proposal and development of alternatives:CSOs demand from the World Bank and the Macedonian government abandoning the idea for this project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The WB decided not to finance construction of the HPP Lukovo Pole.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Macedonian Law on Nature Protection

Natura 2000

AlJazeera various links

HPP Lukovo Pole

Macedonia: No dams in Mavrovo National Park


Online petition to save NP Mavrovo

Еколошки банер за проектот Луково Поле

Hydro power plants endanger the Balkan lynx in Macedonia

Macedonia names Poyry to assess Lukovo Pole Dam, 5-MW Crn Kamen

World Bank Statement on Proposed Lukovo Pole Hydropower Project

Hydropower Struggle: Dams Threaten Europe's Last Wild Rivers

Protests against interventions in the National Park Mavrovo, in the Republic of Macedonia

Dam construction plans put national park at risk

ELEM Macedonian power plants

Lukovo Pole Water Regulation and Renewable Energy Project



Gradnja akumulacije podijelila Makedonce

Lukovo Pole Water Regulation and Renewable Energy Project- Dropped

Albanian Foreign Minister: No Interstate Agreement with Macedonia on ”Lukovo Pole"

New hope for Balkan Rivers: World Bank drops funding for hydropower project in Mavrovo National Park in Macedonia

Albanci protiv preusmjeravanja rijeke Radike

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Sporni projekat Lukovo Pole


Lukovo Pole ENG

Other comments:The Macedonian government is planning to construct 19 new hydro-power plants on the rivers of Mavrovo National Park, the HPPs Lukovo Pole and Boškov Most are the two biggest.

Meta information

Contributor:Jovanka Spiric, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, vankajo(at)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1322



The river Crn Kamen where Lukovo Pole dam will be situated

Location of the dam under the project Lukovo Pole