| Photo: Kosovo Ministry of Economic Development

Thirteen years of waiting for the Kosova e Re agreement

Each of Kosovo’s governments since 2005 have failed to fulfill their own pledges and timelines for the agreement on construction of the Kosova e Re power plant.

Last week, Ramush Haradinaj’s government reached an agreement with the American energy group ContourGlobal, which has a seat in the UK, on the construction of the Kosova e Re (New Kosovo) power plant, and said that the agreement–which will bring investments of over one billion euros–will be signed within the coming days.

The Ramush Haradinaj Government did not fulfill its promise to sign the agreement to build the Kosova e Re plant within 90 days of its mandate, but it has pledged to do so by December 20.

In addition to the failed pledge of the Haradinaj government, KALLXO.com’s fact-checking platform Krypometer has found that all Kosovo governments since 2005 have failed to fulfill their promises to build the power plant.

The project has taken 13 years to start. In the most optimistic scenario, construction will begin in 2019, and the plant will start producing electricity four to six years after that.

Officials from Prime Minister Haradinaj’s party, AAK, had pledged during the June 2017 general election campaign to start the project within 90 days of the beginning of their mandate.

At the Jeta ne Kosove electoral debate on economic development, an MP candidate from the Prime Minister’s party, Gazmend Abrashi, promised that the plant would begin undergoing construction within three months of the start of their mandate.

“The power plant is our second project; we ensure from the moment we will be in the government, on June 12, within 90 days, that the deal will be signed and the cornerstone will be laid quite quickly. Therefore, in four and a half years, we expect to build a power plant in Kosovo,” said Abrashi at the debate, hosted in June.

With the PAN coalition’s successes in the general elections, Ramush Haradinaj was elected Prime Minister of Kosovo. But the Ministry of Economic Development is led by Valdrin Lluka from The New Kosovo Alliance, AKR, which was part of the LAA coalition. Since he took charge of the government, Haradinaj decided to be chair of the Leading Committee for the project.

In November, Lluka gave different deadlines for signing the agreement and for the construction of the power plant.

“Our intention is to sign a commercial agreement for the power plant. Afterwards, we will start with tendering procedures, construction will start at 2019 and it will be done roughly by 2022,” he said.

The history of Kosova e Re

Two power plants, Kosovo A (built in 1962) and B (built in 1983), are located close to Prishtina and produce most of the country’s energy. The idea for a third coal-fired power plant was initiated in 2005.

The government was then led by Bajram Kosumi, while the Ministry of Economic Development was led by Et’hem Ceku. The Ministry drafted an energy development strategy that foresaw the construction of the new power plant, to be called Kosovo C. One year later, in 2006, the bid was signed to pave way for the construction of a 2,100 MW power plant.

The primary plan was to begin construction in 2008 and open the power plant in 2012.

PDK formed its government, led by Hashim Thaci, at the end of 2007. Justina Shiroka-Pula was Minister of Energy and Mines. Together with the change of politicians there were also changes to the construction project. First, the name was changed from Kosova C to Kosova e Re. Afterwards, the capacity changed from 2,100 to 1,000 MW. Later on, in a non-transparent manner, it was decided that the capacity would be lowered to 600 MW.

The former Minister of Energy, Shiroka-Pula, had said that the power plant would be constructed in 2011.

The project was prolonged; Hashim Thaci’s government did not conclude the project. Thaci was focused on privatisation of PTK, the Kosovo Post and Telecommunications Company, and KEDS, the electricity distribution company. Privatization of KEDS was met with major disagreements from the opposition, while the privatisation of PTK did not occur, as the Assembly did not vote on the issue.

The Kosova e Re project was on the brink of failure at the time when the Minister of Economic Development changed. Besim Beqaj was replaced with Fadil Ismajli.

“Everything should happen on time… in January 2015, the winner or the builder of the Kosova e Re power plant will start building the power plant,” Ismajli said said to Radio Free Europe in 2013.

At the end of his mandate in September 2014, Ismajli opened a request for proposals from the only company known to be in the competition, ContourGlobal, yet it did not respond to his invitation. The government changed the deadline for receiving an offer by December 19, 2014, at the request of the company.

Ismajli’s mandate finished in December 2014, before seeing the offer for the project.

When Blerand Stavileci became Minister of Economic Development, he received CounturGlobal’s offers. A year later, the Kosovo government signed a memorandum of understanding with ContourGlobal.

Stavileci expected the agreement for the construction of the plant to be signed by the middle of 2016.

“We’re closing agreements with the American investor and we expect to continue with the next phase — the tender package for the building of the power plant. If we won’t face major obstacles, a year from now the real work with major investments will start in all sectors,” he said on May 4, 2016.

The agreements were not signed, although Stavileci was in office until september 2017.

and 19/12/2017 - 09:46

19 December 2017 - 09:46

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.