Author: Jona Kaso
A hydropower plant on the Devoll River received the permit in 2008, it took 10 years to build (although the contract was for one year) and has managed to generate energy for just one month.
“Muso HC Qytezë” is the name of the hydropower plant which took 10 years to build, after obtaining a 30-year concession permit.
Although the permit was obtained in 2008, construction started five years later and was completed only in 2019.
The reasons why the works for this hydropower plant took so long were reasonable according to the answer given to us by NANR (National Agency of Natural Resources) which is the institution charged by law to monitor the activity of HPPs.
The works have been suspended three times, twice due to “atmospheric conditions” and once due to “financial difficulties”.
This Hydropower Plant has been operating for only one month during the last 10 years since the date of concluding the concession contract. While the task of NANR is to monitor every three months the Hydropower Plant of the Town.
The HPP did not produce even a quarter of the energy it was supposed to produce in a year
Article 7 obliges the concessionaire company to complete the works within 12 months after the conclusion of the contract.
Meanwhile, Article 18 of the contract states that the hydropower plant for a year must produce 1,340,000 Kwh / Year, and if this value is not reached, the concessionaire can be fined with 0.05% of the value of energy production, for the reported period.
From the monitoring carried out, referring to the Energy Regulatory Authority (ERA) report for 2019, the Qyteza hydropower plant started production in August 2019.
“Production for 2019 (Kwh), only for the month of August is 499,200 Kwh, converted into monetary value totaling the value of 4,222,333.44 ALL. As for 2020, we do not have information on energy production, as the concession company has not reported and we are waiting for the response from OSHEE regarding the production of HPPs for 2020”. – responded of NANR.
However, according to the report of the Electricity Market Data, published on the official website of ERA, the hydropower plant for 2020 has produced a total of 2110 Khw, according to the first four months and the second eight months.
As such, the hydropower plant has not produced even a quarter of the energy it was supposed to produce in a year.
The HPP was sold for the value of an apartment
This HPP was built for the production of electricity, with a capital value of 27,700,000 ALL, where 6,800,000 ALL would be invested in machinery and equipment provided to build dams which would occupy the flow of the river Devoll, which passes into some villages of the Devoll Municipality such as Miras, Sinice, Qytezë and Arrëz.
It was 2008 when Pëllum Muso and Rakip Muso, founding partners of the Muso company, signed a Public Private Partnership concession contract, for the construction of a HPP in the Miras Administrative Unit in the village of Qytezë of Devoll.
The project started with Rakip Muso and Pëllumb Muso having 50% of shares each. Rakip Muso then transferred his 50% of the shares to Pëllumb Muso, thus leaving the company. On 14.12.2017, Pëllumb Muso sold Mira Andoni 100% of the shares for the value of 155 thousand euros. Mira Andoni is also the administrator of the company “Autovision Al” sh.pk, which owns 100% of the capital quotas of this company, referring to the data of the National Business Center, until 14.11.2019.
The construction of this HPP has caused a series of damages. In addition to the natural resources, the residents have suffered great damage, as agricultural lands have been damaged, the river has been diverted, hundreds of residents have been left without drinking water and the connecting road between the villages has been severely damaged.
Some of the residents complain that their lands have been occupied (submerged) to build this HPP and to date they have not received any compensation.
A resident of the village of Sinica who, did not want to be identified, says for the Albanian Center for Quality Journalism that he has opposed this project since the beginning of time, and has even filed a criminal report.
“I was against the construction of this hydropower plant, one of the reasons is because they passed me on a piece of land and did not ask me at all, I made a criminal report and the prosecution dropped me, closing the case and telling me to go to court that this is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. I dropped it, I did not continue the report because I knew I would not win anything,” he says.
He adds that he is not the only resident who has not received compensation, there are other residents whose lands have been taken away and have not received compensation.
“If the residents would raise their voices, maybe this hydroelectric power plant would never have been built, but residents could not go to court”, – said another resident with the initials LL.Xh.
According to the map, the diversion of the river flow is clearly visible, where a good part of the amount of river water has been diverted into pipelines, thus drying almost 3 km from the river Devoll. If we go to the place where the dam was built, our eyes will see large iron pipes into which the water of the Devoll River has entered, the road which is excavated in places and large holes which have remained unfilled due to the erosion of the scrap metals. Although it was promised that this road would be repaired by the HPP concessionary company, the road is more damaged than it is repaired.
The concessionaire company did not respond to a request for information regarding the damage caused by the construction of this hydropower plant.
Ping pong between the Ministry of Infrastructure and NANR for the responsibility of monitoring
The “Albanian Center for Quality Journalism” through a second official request asked NANR to make available monitoring reports for this HPP. According to the response received from this institution, the HPP is periodically monitored by NANR and all information collected from these monitoring is submitted to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy through quarterly and semi-annual reports. According to the response received from the National Agency of Natural Resources, it is stated that during the monitoring of the last two years, the hydropower plant has not been in operation.
“Referring to the monitoring during the last two years, HPP Qytezë was monitored in order to scan the concession contract in February 2019. During the monitoring it was found that in that period of time, the hydropower plant was not in operation.” is written in the response from NANR. As for the field monitoring, this HPP was not put into operation due to insufficient inflows brought by the river Devoll. “From the field monitoring in October 2019, NANR has concluded that the HPP is ready for the final test, but was not put into operation due to insufficient inflows,” – said in response, while according to the response First, NANR stated that the HPP was put into operation in August 2019.
Taking into account the monitoring reports and reports to be submitted to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, we formally requested from this institution periodic monitoring reports in kind of the implementation of the work in terms of its construction, as well as reports on contractual provisions for production energy and current production in the HPP of Qyteza, during the years that this HPP has been in operation.
The Ministry diverted the responsibility of answering the questions posed to NANR!
What about the environmental permit?
The Albanian Center for Quality Journalism asked the National Environmental Agency for information on the environmental permit, but the Agency says it was set up after the company had signed the concession contract and that this information should have been requested from the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry did not respond to a request for information.
Mirasi village left without drinking water
With the construction of the Hydropower Plant, the residents started to face problems, further to the river Devoll which has dried up, the road which has been ruined by the opening of canals and the passage of water pipes, the biggest problem is that the source which supplies drinking water to the village of Miras is situated just below the dam of the hydropower plant. This village has about 1000 inhabitants who have been left without any possibility of having drinking water.
“We cannot drink water from the tap, we go out and fill the bottles in the village taps, it is all rubbish” said a resident of Miras.
As a result of the increase of the dam water level, all the waste that is in the dam is collected in that source and consequently the residents cannot use it. After the construction of the dam in Qyteza, a second project was launched for implementation by the Municipality of Devoll, the construction of the Regional Water Supply of Miras.
The solution for drinking water, for the inhabitants of Miras, was this water supply which would supply some villages such as Miras, Ceta, Qyteza, Vidohova and Sinica, but the implementation of this project would encroach upon the natural protected area of Vala Waterfall in Sinica village. The tender for this project was opened on 24.09.2020 and 2 months after the opening of the tender, on 10.11.2020, the winning company was announced to implement the project. The competing operators were: Ed Konstruksion sh.p.k., Arkonstudio sh.p.k., dhe Niem sh.p.k., Iliriada sh.p.k., Rafin Company sh.p.k., dhe Viante Konstruksion sh.p.k.
The operator who won this tender was Ed Konstruksion sh.pk, and Arkonstudio sh.pk and Niem sh.pk, with a bid of 147,992,038 ALL without VAT. The contract with the winning company was signed on 16.10.2020, and this contract will last 12 months.
The residents of Sinica against the construction of the Water Supply
According to the residents of the village of Sinice, the place where this water supply will be built and the water that will be taken, will destroy a Natural Protected Area.
“Vala water is out of the standard of drinking water”, says Marijon Pano, a resident of Sinica village. “We did the water analysis and they came out with a high content of lime, so that water cannot be used as drinking water,” he explains.
However, can the construction companies start the procedures of the project, such as the external and internal Water Supply of Sinicë, Çetë, Miras, Qytezë, Devoll Municipality, without being issued the environmental permit first?
In a telephone conversation with the Mayor of Devoll, Mr. Eduard Duro, says that “The environmental permit has been issued only for a part of the implementation of this project.”
Can this project be built in a natural protected area and is this a violation of the law?
“Changes have been made in this project and the location of the source from which the water will be taken will not be in Vala Waterfall, its water will not be affected, but this water will be taken from three other sources in the same area, also works for this water supply have started”, says the mayor of Devoll.
Residents of the village of Sinica say they have not seen machinery at work for the construction of this water supply, since the first two weeks of January.