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Coal power plant in Galati, Romania

Specifications and location: The plant would burn imported coal from Ukraine to produce up to 800 megawatts of energy. The coal would be transported by ship on the Danube and would reach the “tax free zone” of Galati, in the extreme eastern foothills of Romania, near the border with Ukraine and Moldova. Working in that area, Enel will then have the opportunity to enjoy significant tax advantages.

Environmental and economic impacts

The plant is expected to be built a few kilometers away from the Natura 2000 nature reserve, which holds the status of national park and community site. Moreover the city of Galati is already experiencing very high level of cases of children with asthma, because of high levels of pollution caused by decades of activities of Sidex, the steel plant operated by the indian company Mittal Arcerol. One problem that the coal plant would only exacerbate.

The issue of environmental permit process

Enel submitted a first request for an environmental permit in May 2009. Since the project will have impacts across borders, the Moldovan and Ukrainian authorities have now announced their intention to organize public debates on the issue.
At first, any permission was supposed to be subject to approval by the association of local fishermen, who opposed it from the very  first moment. This “clause” in fact was soon lapsed when local authorities in July 2011 granted the change of the intended use of the area from “destined to offices and other activities” to “area for industrial purposes,” thus providing possibility to set up a power plant as the one proposed by ENEL.

In November of 2011 in Romania it was also held a public consultation which was attended by representatives of the authorities and civil society. The Scientific Council of the Reserve Nature 2000, which counts among its members representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Romanian Academy, and several universities, has expressed his aversion to the implementation of the project.

Last February, Enel submitted its study on the environmental impacts and is currently awaiting for a formal response.

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