Branko Banović & Miloš Milenković
BRANKO BANOVIĆ & MILOŠ MILENKOVIĆ
Small Group Project 2022-23
Coal mines and thermal power plants are generators of large number of direct and related jobs, they significantly participate in the state and local budgets, as well as in the financing of local sports, cultural and other social activities. However, these big pollutants pose a special threat not only to citizens living in their immediate vicinity. Since coal combustion is still the dominant form of electricity production in the Western Balkans, the general public has long been posing a number of questions about the future of coal-fired power plants and the overall effects that the energy transition would have on local communities. As TPP Pljevlja is the first regional thermal power plant that is threatened with shutdown due to spent working hours provided by the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, Pljevlja, the northernmost town in Montenegro, appears as a current and very interesting terrain for comparative research and understanding of controversies and conflicts provoked by Rio Tinto’s plan to open a jadarite mine (ie. lithium) near the city of Loznica, in Western Serbia. As we can expect similar conflicts and controversies over the future of other coal-fired power units in the Western Balkans, but also over other investments questionable in terms of environmental protection, the main goal of this research is to understand local challenges and to offer guidelines for the inclusion of missing stakeholders in design and implementation of public policies for environmental protection. Using the authority of the academic position and the proven openness and trust that citizens in the field show to ethnologists/anthropologists, in this research we will test the model of negotiating and harmonizing the views and interests of stakeholders and develop guidelines that will be applicable to other similar situations.