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Lights Off for Hydropower Plants in Valbona

After four months, the court decision to temporarily shut down hydropower plants on the Valbona River was executed

Almost four months after the Supreme Court decision to suspend all works and the concession contracts for hydropower plants on the Valbona River in Albania, the plants have been shut down. 

After the local bailiff in Bajram Curri refused to execute the court decision, the bailiff of Kukes took over the case as a result of high pressure put by activists and environmental organisations through the General Directorate of Bailiffs and the Ministry of Justice. Finally, the 2 hydropower plants were shut down on 9 November 2021. This is an important victory for all residents and activists from the Environmental organization “TOKA”, who fought for the Valbona River.

“It is unfortunate that this decision wasn’t implemented sooner, but it is an important step in the future protection of the Valbona River. We have to remember that this is a result of years of legal struggles by the residents of Tropoja and activists from TOKA. For years we have been following the case, supporting the initiative to prevent the construction of hydropower plants. We hope that this decision will be enforced until the issue is resolved”, said Rea Nepravishta from WWF Adria.

The official statement says that any attempt to turn on the hydropower plants again, even for a short while, will be considered a criminal offence. Furthermore, the statement reads that if this happens, the offences will be prosecuted.

The Valbona case shows how promises given by the state are easily broken, and how justice can be slow. However, the latest developments bring back hope that in the end the jewel of the Albanian Alps will be preserved, without further degradation. In the end, it’s the responsibility of all of us to insist decision makers make just and the best possible decisions that will lead to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources, putting citizens interests above private needs for profit.
Hydropower plant construction site in the Valbona Valley National Park

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