Slovakia might have breached the Aarhus convention
Case: Construction of Mochovce –
Slovakia might have breached the
The Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic did not consult the construction of the 3rd and 4th block of the nuclear power plant Mochovce clearly enough with the public. These are the findings of the Aarhus committee. According to the committee, the public in Slovakia was not informed in a timely manner and was not involved sufficiently in the process of deciding whether the 3 and 4 blocks should be constructed.
Back in 2008 the NRA decided to change the building permission, by which it de facto gave a permission to finish its construction. The primary permission was issues back in 1986, but back in those days, the law did not allow any public consultations or asses the impact of the construction on the environment. In 2008 the original decision was changed so that the power plant could be finished by a foreign investor.
According to the preliminary assessment of the Aarhus committee, the Slovak legislative does not recognize the right of the public to express its opinion in a sufficient way in cases if a building permission for a strategic energy building is being changed. And this is in conflict with the Article 6, paragraph 4 of the The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
The Aarhus committee was dealt with Mochovce for the first time on 15th March 2010 in Geneva when representatives of both the SR and environmental NGO-s addressed their standpoints. The opinion of the Aarhus committee is only preliminary and both sides have time until 8th November to send their remarks.
Week in Slovakia
Tuesday – 12th October 2010
Slovakia donated two solar systems for heating water to the Serbian town Zreňanin in Vojvodina. The two solar systems can generate 348 MWh of heat per year. The project was carried out under the program SLOVAK AID – the Slovak official development help in the year 2009. 216-thousand euro was allocated from public resources, while the remaining 20 % were provided by a private investor.
Wednesday – 13th October 2010
Slovakia has breached the Aarhus convention. According to the preliminary reports of the Aarhus committee, the public opinion in Slovakia was not involved sufficiently and earlier enough in the process of deciding whether the construction of the 3rd and 4th block of the nuclear power plant in Mochovce should be finished.
Thursday – 14th October 2010
The Regulatory Office for Network Industries (ÚRSO) refused another demand of the Slovak gas industry (SPP) to increase the price for natural gas starting of in December 2010. The Slovak gas company insisted on increasing the price for natural gas by 37,2 % from 1st December 2010 and by 48,9 % for natural gas sold for heating.
The expert conference Energofórum 2010 has started today in Vyhne. Martin Sliva, deputy of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of SR gave the introductory speech. Mr Sliva informed the participants that in 2011 the government will pass an amendment to the energy law as well as the one on regulation. Their amendments are required by the 3rd liberalization package of the EU.
European Union and World
Monday – 11th October 2010
During the first nine months of this year, almost a double amount of clients have changed their electricity supplier in Czech Republic in comparison with last year. The most clients were households, where as many as 111-thousand changed their supplier. From the business sector, 41-thousand subjects switched to another supplier and the number of wholesale customers reached 12-thousand. The higher interest in changing the supplier is being explained by the debate about the higher price for electricity in 2011.
The strike in France is endangering functioning of oil refineries and supplies of engine fuels. The refinery La Mede lowered its production by 50 % already. Employees of the key oil terminal Fos-Lavera near by the port of Marseille are on strike for the 15th day now. They are demanding the company to retain the same number of jobs and are against the pension reform. The reserves of engine fuels in France should last for another two weeks.
Great Britain is against the proposal of the European Commission which should put a moratorium on deep-water oil production. According to London none of the institution of the EU has the authority to do so, but also there is no reason to impose such a ban. The current security standards that are applied in the Northern Sea are according to the British government stricter than those that were valid in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium proposal of Commissioner Gunther Oettinger would be in force until the ecological catastrophe at the Macondo oil field is fully inspected.
Russia is preparing to construct a new terminal for coal export. The terminal would be able to export more than 18 million tons of coal via the Barents Sea per year. The total costs of the project are estimated at 300 – 500 million US dollars. The first construction phase should be finished in 2014. The coal that would reach Europe could be cheaper by 2 or 4 dollar per each ton.
The conditions of Russia to build the oil pipeline Samsun-Ceyhan in Turkey is to approve tax privileges by the state. According to the Russians this would ensure competitiveness of the customs duties for oil transport with other duties in the Black Sea area. The projected oil pipeline should unburden the overloaded transport of oil by oil tankers in the traits of Bosporus and Dardanelles.
Tuesday – 12th October 2010
Lignite extraction in Czech Republic is gradually decreasing. The reason behind the drop is depletion of the lignite fields, but also area restrictions and limitations imposed by the state. According to prognosis of the Czech extraction companies, in two-year time the production needs to count with a 10 % drop. In practice it will mean that approximately 4,5 millions tons of coal will be missing on the Czech market.
The Czech government is looking for a way how to prevent the drastic jump in the price of electricity in 2011. The government wants to keep the price rise at a 5% limit. Czech Minister of Finances Miroslav Kalousek came with the proposal that in order to achieve this aim, the emission allowances should be monetized and the notified price rise could be then compensated with them. Originally the state was supposed to give them out to companies for free. Czech PM Petr Nečas does not consider this idea as a long-term solution. Moreover, according to him it is only possible to use the allowances in 2013.
Russian company Gazprom might face enormous expenses in the upcoming years. The expenses could be created by the proposed plans of Moscow to increase the incidence of taxation for natural gas extraction. Until 2013 the expenses could reach 200 billion Russian ruble.
The Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) might not change the extraction quotas for oil. On Friday a meeting of oil Ministers of the member states will take place in Vienna. According to the preliminary statements, the current price settings are satisfactory for all the actors on the market.
Google together with other companies are planning to construct a gigantic series of wind parks in the Atlantic Ocean. The total installed capacity of the mega project should reach 6-thousand MW. This amount would be sufficient to supply electricity for 2 million households. The estimated costs of the project can reach 5 billion US dollars. The construction should begin in 2016.
Wednesday – 13th October 2010
The strike in France is carrying on for the 17th day now. Six refineries of the French oil company Total brought to halt their fuel supplies. Four of them will stop their production completely soon. The companies are protesting against the government’s pension system.
It is possible that ČEZ will not finish the completion of the nuclear power plant Temelín on time. The deadline is 2020. The delay is caused by the economic crisis and changes on the energy market in Czech Republic. The company ČEZ is currently in a very bad financial situation.
Turkmenistan is the center of attention for oil companies. Representatives from the Turkmenistan government have informed about preparing a meeting with representatives from Chevron and Total. The will talk about possible cooperation in conducting research in the waters of the Caspian Sea.
The American government has lifted the ban on deepwater oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico in depth of more than 150 meters. Strict rules and security standards should be now applied in the area. By lifting the moratorium the government met the demands from the oil industry. However, the companies will not be able to drill straight away. At first, the companies will have to gain all the necessary permissions.
Thursday – 14th October 2010
The European Commission is preparing strict rules for the security of deep-water oil and natural gas extraction. One part of the measures is a financial guarantee of the extraction companies. In case of an ecological catastrophe, the company has to be able to cover all the expenses caused by their interference in the environment. The proposal will gain its definite form at the beginning of next year.
The Czech government has agreed to introduce a deduction tax for solar power plants together with a complete set of other measures. Some of them are for example introducing an income from emission quotas, or fees for extraction of soil under the solar panels from the land reserves. The electricity price should not be more than 10 %. The new amendment must be now approved by the government.
The oil company Royal-Dutch Shell signed a science-research partnership with the Massachusetts Institute for Technologies. The company will provide the Energy Initiative program with 25 million US dollars annually during the upcoming five years.