HEP has been developing the 68 MW hydropower plant construction project – HPP Ombla.
The Project ensures economically acceptable electricity supply of domestic customers with a minimum environmental impact. The construction of HPP Ombla contributes to achieving nationally set goals of electricity generation from renewable energy sources along with 6-8% reduced electricity import in total.
Based on the Environmental Impact Assessment Study (EIAS), in 1999 HEP was issued the Decision of the environmental appropriateness of HPP Ombla construction as well as the location permit and general construction consent.
Impact on ecological network preservation objectives
In late 2011, HEP and EBRD signed the funding agreement for the construction of HPP Ombla. In view of the changes in the Croatian legislation and new EU directives, adopted in the period following the EIAS adoption, HEP made arrangements with EBRD and supplemented environmental protection documentation regarding the possible impact of the project on the integrity and preservation objectives of natural sites – proposed by Natura 2000. This resulted in the Biodiversity Management Plan for HPP Ombla area and the Appropriate Assessment Study of HPP Ombla.
During the process of public disclosure regarding the HPP Ombla impacts on the proposed NATURA 2000 and proposed protection and mitigation measures (early 2013), questions, complaints and comments were asked during public discussions or submitted by e-mail. Replies to the above mentioned are contained in the Consultation Process Report.
In line with the recommendation issued by the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection, HEP expressed its readiness to additional harmonization of project documentation with current domestic and foreign regulations on environmental protection and impact on ecological network aiming at the implementation of the highest environmental standards. In view of the expected duration of the said procedure and for the purpose of avoiding further costs, HEP and EBRD agreed on terminating the Loan Agreement in May 2013.
The Appropriate Assessment of the Impact of HPP Ombla for the Ecological Network is underway. In its course, expert companies have been analysing if the implementation of appropriate nature protection measures and adverse impact mitigation measures may ensure that the construction and operation of HPP Ombla will not have an adverse effect on the objectives of ecological network preservation and integrity. Apart from to-date conducted and documented comprehensive research of the HPP Ombla site, discoveries regarding the biodiversity of cave habitats and springs areas of the wider Dubrovnik area make an important basis for the project's appropriate assessment for the ecological network. With that in mind, the research of cave habitats and spring areas has been conducted, significantly increasing the volume of subterranean and spring fauna knowledge, which will contribute to increasing a level of protection of the natural-history heritage of the Dubrovnik karst area.