Bosnian Serbs, Croatia agree to develop 300-MW Dubrovnik

Bosnian Serb and Croatian ministers have agreed on a joint venture to develop the 300-MW Dubrovnik 2 hydroelectric project near Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Prime Minister Aleksandar Dzombic of the Bosnian Serb Republic within Bosnia and Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Radimir Cacic of Croatia agreed to develop the 170 million euro (US$298.7 million) project during a meeting July 13 in Banja Luka.

"We have agreed that each side will invest 50 percent of the project through a joint company that will construct the hydropower plant in the next three years, and after that we will agree on how to share the electricity produced," Dzombic said in a statement issued by the Croatian economic agency.

Dzombic said water for the project is to be diverted from the three-plant Hidroelektrane na Trebisnjici hydro complex in the Bosnian Serb Republic by a 16-kilometer canal from the Trebisnica River.

Cacic said financial details and other issues of the project are to be outlined by the end of September.

In a potential complication for Dubrovnik 2, the chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegovic, declared July 18 that only the tripartite presidency -- and not the Bosnian Serb entity -- has the authority to make an international deal with Croatia to build the hydro plant.

Izetbegovic added that Bosnia and Herzegovina has ratified a European convention on environmental assessment across national boundaries that requires full assessment of the environmental effects of "large dams." He said Dubrovnik 2 would take about 2 billion cubic meters of water from the Neretva River, potentially threatening the agricultural area and complete ecosystem of the Neretva Valley.

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