Nearly 100,000 trees have been planted and 18,000 cubic meters of toxic waste treated and removed; new financing will continue the clean-up and expand environmental monitoring
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013 — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$4.2 million Additional Financing for the Kosovo Energy Sector Clean-up and Land Reclamation Project to continue addressing environmental issues, remove hazardous chemicals from an old gasification site, and build capacity for environmental good practices in the mining and energy sector
The additional financing will boost support to project activities that are currently under way: removing and properly disposing of tar sludge and tar deposits, planting trees at overburden dumps, and reclaiming land for natural habitats or community development. New activities will also be financed, including air monitoring equipment to measure baseline air quality data, soil and water monitoring to collect data on current pollution levels, an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the proposed Kosovo Power Project, an international Panel of Experts to review the ESIA and resettlement process, and the development of a low-carbon growth energy strategy.
“The World Bank is serious about clean energy, and is supporting Kosovo in various ways to achieve its long-term goal of modernizing its energy system” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director and Regional Coordinator for Southeastern Europe. “Replacing the highly-polluting Kosovo A power plant with state-of-the-art clean technology, investing in renewable energy alternatives and promoting energy efficiency are all integral elements of our support for Kosovo. Equally important is this Clean-up and Land Reclamation Project, which addresses severe environmental legacy problems and builds capacity for good practices and strong environmental monitoring in the future.”
Since 2007, the Clean-up and Land Reclamation Project has been addressing the legacy of more than 40 years of coal-fired power generation. Kosovo's oldest power plant, Kosovo A, has emitted vast quantities of ash into the surrounding area, polluting the air and creating a hill of ash visible from the capital ten kilometers away. With support from the World Bank, the Government of Kosovo has rehabilitated most of the ash hill and stopped its slide towards neighboring houses. Almost 156 hectares of the ash that have been disposed at the ash dump have been leveled and reshaped and covered by soil. When the planned wet ash system becomes operational (halting ash dumping), the remainder of the ash dump will be reshaped and covered with soil.
This project has already financed the planting of nearly 100,000 trees on dump areas, which also have been stabilized. Today, more than 600 hectares have been made available for natural habitats and community development or other land use purposes. As part of the project, about 18,000 cubic meters of toxic waste from an abandoned gasification plant (tars, benzene, phenols, methanol, and oily compounds), in deteriorating and risky condition, have been treated and removed from the site. The Additional Financing approved today will make possible the removal of any remaining priority toxic waste found at the site and its proper disposal.
This Additional Financing also will fund three online air quality monitoring stations in the area of the proposed new power project, allowing for the collection of reliable baseline data on air quality for the first time in Kosovo. An elaborate soil and water sampling and laboratory analysis program will also be undertaken to collect and analyze the baseline environmental data in the soil, groundwater and surface water, and river sediments.
An Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the proposed Kosovo Power Project and associated infrastructure will be conducted in order to inform the decision-making process of the proposed investment, including the Bank’s decision on a proposed partial risk guarantee, and to increase the monitoring and management capacity of the Government of Kosovo. In addition, the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the Shala neighborhood of Hade village near the coal mine will be monitored. An International Independent Panel of Environmental and Social Experts will be recruited for both the ESIA as well as the RAP to assist the Government of Kosovo in preparation and implementation. A low-carbon growth energy strategy will be prepared to help to reduce energy demand and promote renewable energy projects for prospective investments by the private sector and others, identifying opportunities for reducing future demand of electricity, increasing power generation without additional emissions, and possibly reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
The total cost of the Kosovo Energy Sector Clean-up and Land Reclamation Project so far has been US$13.65 million, consisting of IDA grant funding of US$10.5 million and a contribution from the Kosovo Energy Corporation of US$3.15 million. Activities were also supported by a Dutch Government grant of around US$3.81 million. The US$4.2 million credit approved today by the World Bank will be accompanied by a separate grant from the Government of the Netherlands of around US$1.13 million.