EU watchdog warns Bosnia power plant must comply with emission rules

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - The European Union urged Bosnia on Wednesday to ensure a China-backed coal-fired power plant project meets EU emission reduction regulations.

Janez Kopac, head of the Energy Community, a body set up by the EU and eight aspiring member states, told Reuters that Bosnian authorities must ensure that any power plant launching operations after Jan. 1 2019 must comply with the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

Local environmentalists had filed a complaint alleging the environmental permit approving construction of the 350 megawatt (MW) Banovici power plant failed to specify pollution limits as obliged under the Energy Community Treaty.

The plant in northeastern Bosnia is set to be built and financed by China’s Dongfang Electric Corp Ltd [SASDEC.UL]. It is one in a series of coal-burning plants planned in Bosnia.

Environmentalists have warned about the impact of these plans, launching lawsuits and formal complaints, fearing the cash-strapped nation may be tempted to cut corners and exposed to costly upgrade costs once it joins the EU.

Reporting by Maja Zuvela; editing by Daria Sito-Sucic and Jason Neely