Until 2020, Montenegro was the only country in the region that stood a chance of maintaining compliance with the Large Combustion Plants Directive. However, the situation has changed rapidly and in April 2021 the Energy Community Secretariat opened an infringement case against Montenegro.
The 225 MWe Pljevlja I lignite power plant has only one unit, and thus could not be subject to a National Emissions Reduction Plan. Since the plant generates around 40 per cent of Montenegro’s electricity, depending on the year, closing it looked unattractive. Therefore, the ‘opt-out’ option was chosen, in which Pljevlja I would be able to operate for a total of 20,000 hours between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2023. After that, it either has to close or to undergo a retrofit that would bring it into compliance with emission limit values for new plants, not existing ones.
But Pljevlja I’s operating hours at the end of 2020 were already at 21,003 breaching, therefore, the opt-out regime and the compliance with LCPD.
The 2020 health burden from Pljevlja’s emissions is 625 deaths, 181,260 work days lost, 1.34 billion EUR in 2020.