WIND ENERGY

BOSNIA NOT USING ITS CHEAPEST ENERGY SOURCE

Windmill under Velez will provide electricity to entire Mostar Numerous European countries are already using wind energy. Windmills are one of the least expensive electricity providers. Windmills are heavily used in Germany, Denmark, and Spain. This source of electric energy has gained a lot of attention in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has become a focus of intensive research recently.

Bosnian experts in the field of electricity view the wind as an important source for providing electricity. Due to the presence of strong winds, most conducive location for windmills is in southern region of Bosnia (known as Herzegovina). Other regions of the country where windmill research was conducted are Podvelez, Kupres, Blidinje, Ravno, and Tomislav Grad.

Velez plateau

Experts view plateau below Velez mountain, an area that spans around 150 square kilometers near city of Mostar, as most suited for development of windmill plants. Even though there are numerous interested investors, windmill development project has not yet begun.

“A study was conducted of an area, size around thirty square kilometers, for three energy fields that could produce around 60MW, and data has been gathered and prepared for potential investors. With windmill plant of this capacity, the entire city of Mostar could be provided with electricity, and the entire project could be valued around 68 million Euros. Project of this value needs to be commenced as soon as possible, primarily because of the employment impact, as well as the revenue and the development of the entire region” - said Dr. Mehmed Behmen, Strojar College in Mostar.

Engineer Ilija Kozulj believes that if there is a continued world dependency on coal, oil and natural gas, at the current pace, there will be a shortage of these natural resources in the next fifty years.

“Regulations concerning concessions do not directly address the issue of wind energy and it is an issue that needs to be addressed in an upcoming period. Government officials at the highest level need to be engaged inregards to development of a program to begin utilizing wind for electricity generation” - expressed Mostar’s mayor, Ljubo Beslic.

Austrian investors, that have shown interest in investing in the windmill development project, will have to show patience until the rules regarding the concessions are approved and finalized.

Ecologic association “Bura” from Mostar is one of the most active ecological associations in Herzegovina. This association, in the past few months, has organized and conducted a few round-table meetings dealing with production of electricity using windmills. Experts attending the meetings were stressing the negative ecological impacts that would be created with continued development of hydro-electric plants on Neretva river, as well as in Herzegovina. “Bura” association president Drazen Rosic stressed the importance of developing windmill plants to produce electricity.

Against development of hydro-electric plants

“According to a world-wide research, especially in Herzegovina region, it has been concluded that wind could be used a invaluable resource for providing electricity, and it would be a great mistake not to utilize its capability. For whatever reason(s), the country is hesitant to use it a source for providing electricity.” - said Rosic.

Marinko Dalmatin, president of ecological association “Lijepa Nasa”, holds the same opinion as his counterpart, Rosic. He asserts that new energy sources must be utilized in order to preserve the nature, and the advantages and disadvantages of each source should be discussed in upcoming meetings.

Even while discussions are being held regarding the advantages of windmill plants over thermal plants, hydro-electric plants, and nuclear plants, eastern and western Herzegovina has seen a development of few additional hydro-electric plants. This illustrates that hydro-electric plants are seen as a clear favorite to any other alternatives.

Flooding of Popovo Field

According to the experts present at some of roundtable meetings, the hydro-electric plants currently being constructed in Herzegovina could negatively impact our lives. Hydro-electric plant being developed in eastern Herzegovina, Gornji Horizons, was singled out as a plant that, according to the expets, could alter the water supply in Neretva region. Some experts are even stating that the construction of the previously mentioned plant could alter the climate in the region.

Flooding of vast fertile fields of Popovo field has become a common occurrence, due to development of Gornji Horizons, according to the experts in Mostar. However, the warnings issued by the area experts are not taken seriously, as the development of hydro-electric plants is in full-force in Herzegovina region. Windmill plants, along with potential Austrian investors, will have to show patience and wait. When it is all said and done, Herzegovina may remain without windmill plants.

Kyoto agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kyoto agreement is mandating that we look for alternative solutions for providing electricity, which should be ecologically acceptable. School curriculums should be modified to include a general overview of the providing electricity using the natural renewable resources - said Kozulj, as well as the country’s government should move towards developing regulations to encourage domestic and foreign investments in these projects.

One fact is for sure, that all interested parties agree. Better yet, the parties that understand the problem stress that the windmill plant project(s) need to expedited; however, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as in many other aspects, is slow to reform, and many legal barriers are still standing in the way.

Investments in other countries

Data illustrates that around 30-40% of investment in new power plants, in the next 15 years, will be allocated to development of windmill plants. Some countries, like Spain, are stimulating development of windmill plants through incentives. Providing electricity through windmill plants has increased the standard of living; in addition, the impact on preserving the nature is invaluable.

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