World Bank pulls out of Kosovo coal project

23 October 2018

The future of a planned 500 MW coal-fired power plant is in doubt after the World Bank said it would not provide funding for the project.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said that the lender had made a “very firm decision” to not back the controversial project, mainly because it was no longer the lowest-cost option for new power generating capacity in Kosovo.

In a statement, Kim said that the Bank’s rules required it to “go with the lowest cost option”. He added: “Renewables have now come below the cost of coal ... so without question we are not going to do that.”

Kosovo signed a deal in 2017 with London-listed power generator ContourGlobal to build the lignite-fired plant at a cost of around €1 billion euros ($1.15 billion). It had asked the World Bank to provide partial risk guarantees to help unlock cheaper loans for the project.

Local media has reported Kosovo minister of Economic Development, Valdrin Lluka, as saying that the government will continue working with ContourGlobal to implement the project. Lluka said that the project is important to Kosovo to enhance energy security.

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