The National Audit Office of Kosovo has started the performance audit in the field of energy and environment with the topic “Licensing system of hydropower plants and their impact on the environment and water (2015 – 2021)”. Addressing this audit topic is of particular importance as the use of water for electricity generation must be done in the right way without affecting the quality and flow of water.
Various media reports and initial research in the planning phase in this area show that there are indications that the hydropower licensing process is characterized by shortcomings and lack of transparency. There are also indications for lack of coordination between the responsible parties during the licensing process, lack of proper supervision by the responsible institutions that consequently the environment may be endangered by this activity. The impact that this activity has on the environment and the initial indicators of problems in this area have served the NAO to start this audit.
The objective of this audit is to evaluate the issuance of licenses for hydropower plants and the activities of public institutions for environmental protection from the activity of hydropower plants. The main purpose of this audit is to contribute to the improvement of the licensing process and to ensure that water use is done more efficiently and effectively achieving the intended purpose and to ensure the protection of water and the environment.
The Energy Regulatory Office will be subject to the audit process; Ministry of Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure; The Ministry of Economy as well as the municipalities of Dragash, Mitrovica, Deçan and the municipality of ërtrpce. Also, the Kosovo Forest Agency and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports may be subject to audit, depending on whether they are related to the audited field. Within these institutions, the focus of the audit will be the permitting departments and the departments of the inspectorate related to the impact on the environment and water. The scope will focus on the issuance of licenses for hydropower plants during the years 2015-2020 and their impact on the environment and water.
The main goal of building hydropower plants in Kosovo is to reach the 25% target in line with the agreement of the established EU Directive 2019/32 / EC for the production of renewable energy by 2020, reducing the impact on the environment and water. In Kosovo during the years 2015-2020, about 20 small hydropower plants were built which offer a production capacity of about 86 MW. Hydropower plants should be built in concession with public institutions, equipped and implement the rules and criteria of environmental permits in order to protect water and the environment and ensure the quality of water supply and their flow.
The activities of each institution responsible for the construction of hydropower plants and their operation in order to generate electricity must be carried out in accordance with the principles of compliance, economy, efficiency and effectiveness. Also provide transparency and equal treatment for economic operators who aim to use water for energy production.
The NAO is committed to addressing relevant and important topics for the Assembly of Kosovo and its citizens by providing useful recommendations for protecting the environment and strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo.