Peruća Gas Power Plant Project Suspended

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Split-Dalmatia County has decided to suspend the controversial project.

Split-Dalmatia County has decided to suspend the controversial gas power plant project at Peruća Lake and to focus more on renewable energy sources – water, sun and wind. This is the main conclusion of the special session of the County Assembly on the protection of the Cetina river basin. The meeting was preceded by a press conference organised by MOST and its MP Miro Bulj, and the protests of environmental NGO “Do Not Give Up, Cetina”, who once again stated their opposition to the construction of the Peruća cogeneration gas power plant and announced they would prevent the project from going forward, if needed, with their bodies, reports Večernji List on November 7, 2017.

On the other hand, experts tried to explain the potential advantages of the project. For more than two hours, the plan was presented and defended by experts working on the environmental impact study. Marijan Štulac, the chief designer of the power plant, pointed out high ecological standards. “The best available method for power generation today is a combined gas and steam power plant. Such plants reach an efficiency of about 60 percent, and they are the gold standard in the world,” said Štulac.

Bojana Mahmutović said that the plant would not have a significant impact on the health and lives of people in the surrounding areas. “The term ‘years of potential life lost’ has been established by the World Health Organization, which is the expected reduction in life expectancy. According to this study, a person living near the future power plant would lose 0.2 days or less than 5 hours,” said Mahnutović.

“Maximum concentrations in the air will not bring about change in the existing environment at all. All the maximum concentrations are nowhere near to endanger the environment,” said Goran Gašparac from the GEKOM company. He gave an example of carbon monoxide emissions which would be as much as 470 times lower than the allowed levels.

Ferdo Bašić, a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, said that the project would open the way for sustainable economic and agricultural development of the region. He claims that the Peruća power plant would not have a negative impact on soil and plants. “Emissions will not jeopardise the current state of the ground. Warm water from the power plant would allow the cultivation of tomatoes, strawberries, flowers, cherries and other cultures on the banks of the lake. This would mean employment for new agronomists and the development of this region,” said Bašić.

Tarzan Legović, the former employee of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, spoke about the problem of warming of the lake, which is one of the leading arguments of opponents of the project. He said they did not know what they were talking about since the sunshine already warms the lake three times more than the power plant would do.

On the other hand, the project was opposed by Ivo Šimunović and Mislav Cvitković, who said there was no dilemma for them – the project must not proceed. “Being cautious is the strongest protection measure. These explanations which we have been listening today do not mean anything. Do not risk 500,000 people who depend on that water. Just imagine that the water is poisoned for just one day,” said Šimunović and received applause from some of the assembly members.

The presentations were followed by a debate in which MOST strongly opposed the project, Pametno party and SDP expressed their doubts, while Maja Zelić on behalf of HDZ said that their position was to wait for the further official opinion of experts. County Prefect Blaženko Boban said before the session that he wanted to protect Cetina, and also all the other rivers of the Central Dalmatian basin.

The new Peruća power plant project has been controversial from the start, with numerous opponents criticising it due to environmental concerns, and with the proponents accusing the other side of being uninformed.

Translated from Večernji List.


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