Legal challenge mounted against Kosovo coal project

(Bank Watch, Prishtina 13 May 2019) Kosovar and international non-governmental organisations have today submitted an official complaint to the Energy Community dispute settlement mechanism challenging the legality of the power purchase agreement for the planned Kosova e Re coal power project, which is currently awaiting ratification by the Kosovo parliament. The complaint alleges that the 20-year power purchase agreement, signed by the Kosovar government with ContourGlobal in December 2017 fails to comply with the Energy Community Treaty rules on state  aid because it provides ContourGlobal a range of benefits that give it an unfair advantage over other energy producers. The contract would also put an unbearable strain on the state budget and Kosovar electricity consumers as it guarantees that a state-owned company will buy all the electricity generated by ContourGlobal at a “target price” of EUR 80/MWh – much higher than current electricity prices in the region. The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have refused to provide support for the 500 MW New Kosovo coal power plant. Kosovo and London-listed power firm ContourGlobal said on Friday May 10 they had chosen a consortium of General Electric subsidiaries to build and equip a new 500 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in the Balkan country. Kosovo has turned to the Trump administration for help to build a coal-fired power plant after losing the backing of the World Bank and the EBRD.