CLEANING UP KOSOVO'S ENERGY LEGACY
After about 50 years of coal-fired power generation, vast layers of ash have been emitted in areas surrounding Kosovo’s power plants, polluting the country’s air, and creating a hill of ash visible for more than 10 kilometers. Since 2007, the World Bank Group has been working with the Government of Kosovo to address these issues.
The Clean-up and Land Reclamation Project, with US$ 14.7 million in World Bank financing, has supported the clean-up and stabilization of an ash dump near two power plants, installed a new hydraulic system for transporting wet ash, and removed toxic chemicals from an old gasification plant. Specifically, the Project has contributed to the following:
- More than 85% of the ash dump has been rehabilitated. The remaining part of the ash dump is now being reshaped and covered by the Kosovo Power Generation Company (KEK) to stop further dusting.
- 70% of the total overburden area – more than 600 hectares – created from past mining operations has been reclaimed for community purposes such as natural habitat creation, community development, and other land use purposes. Around 150,000 trees have been planted on these former overburden dumps, though the survival rate of the trees is much lower than in other areas.
- Approximately 22,000 tons of chemicals from an abandoned coal gasification plant have been treated and removed from the site. More than 7,000 tons of toxic, high organic content materials (tars, benzene, phenols, methanol, and oily compounds) have been removed from the country and treated in licensed facilities in the EU, while another 15,000 tons of low level organic content materials have been successfully treated locally.
- The highly polluting open ash handling and transport system at the old Kosovo A power plant has been replaced with a wet ash transport system, which has ended the practice of dumping fresh ash on open surface.
- Regular environmental monitoring of air quality has been established through three continuous monitoring stations that were installed near the power plants, allowing for the collection of reliable data on air quality in the municipality of Obliq. In addition, six monitoring points have been installed around the ash dump to monitor dust levels. A significant decrease has been observed in the amount of dust from the ash dump – from 2.5 times above the allowed dust level in 2011 to one-third of the allowed dust level in 2013. By 2015, the dust levels around the ash dump were below the level that monitoring devices could register.
- A Resettlement Policy Framework for mining related land acquisition, specifically to improve resettlement planning and implementation in Kosovo’s New Mining Field, has been adopted in Kosovo.