Conservation and the Environment

The Economic Case Against Coal

In the early 2010s, grantees of the RBF’s Democratic Practice–Global Challenges and Pivotal Place: Western Balkans programs began developing research and public information campaigns on the proposed construction of a new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Kosovo. Their work examined the negative impact a new coal plant would have not only on the environment, but on the economy. A 2016 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and the Balkan Green Foundation revealed that constructing the plant would raise household electricity costs and impose a substantial debt burden on banks in the country.

The World Bank debated funding the construction of the new coal plant in Kosovo for more than two years, despite a 2013 pledge to limit support for coal power. In October 2018, however, World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim announced the bank’s decision not to fund the Kosovo project or any other coal plant going forward. Responding to a question from Visar Azemi, executive director of the Balkan Green Foundation, at the World Bank annual meeting in Bali, Kim confirmed: “We have made a very firm decision not to go forward with the coal power plant because we are required by our bylaws to go with the lowest cost option, and renewables have now come below the cost of coal.”

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In answer to a question posed by Visar Azemi, Executive Director of the Balkan Green Foundation at a Civil Society Townhall event, World Bank Group President. Jim Yong Kim said that the World Bank has made a very firm decision not to go forward with the coal power plant in Kosovo. “We are required by our by-laws to go with the lowest cost option, and renewables have now come below the cost of coal. So without question, we are not going to do that,” Dr. Kim said.

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