Regulations on construction of small hydropower plants can be classified in two main groups: the regulations governing the area of planning and construction of structures, and the regulations governing the area of the energy sector. The group of regulations governing the area of planning and construction includes: the Law on Planning and Construction, the by-laws adopted on the basis of the laws regulating the planning and construction sector, the Law on Spatial Plan of the Republic of Serbia, and the pertaining planning documents (regional spatial plans, spatial plans of the self-government units and spatial plans of special-purpose areas and urban development plans: master plan, general regulating plan, detailed regulating plan) and other regulations. The Law on Planning and Construction stipulates the procedure for obtaining the location permit, the Construction Permit and the Operating Permit, while the planning documents define the goals of spatial planning and development, i.e. of spatial development or whether it has been planned to construct a certain structure at a certain place within a certain time period in the Republic of Serbia. In order to obtain the location and Construction Permits, it is necessary to obtain the energy-related and technical requirements for connection to the electricity transmission or distribution grid, as well as the Water Requirements, the Water Approval and, the Water Permit as well, which are issued in accordance with the Law on Waters and the pertaining by-laws. The group of regulations governing the area of power industry includes: the Energy Law, the pertaining by-laws, the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, and the Program of Implementing the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, and the other above mentioned regulations pertaining to issuance of the energy license, the license for engaging in energy-related activities, connection of the facility to the grid and the like. The Energy Law stipulates that energy facilities may be constructed if the Minister of Mining and Energy issues an Energy Permit to an applicant. The procedure for obtaining the Energy Permit is regulated by the Rulebook on Criteria for Issuing Energy Permits, Content of the Application, and Procedure for Issuing Energy Permits (*46). It is also envisaged that the Energy Permit is issued in compliance with the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia and with the Program of Implementation of the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia, which regulate the requirements and the place where a specific energy facility should be constructed. The procedure for obtaining the Energy Permit precedes the procedure for obtaining the Construction Permit for a specific facility, which is regulated by a group of regulations on planning and construction. The procedures that are related to the obtaining of the Energy Permit, the location permit, the Construction Permit, the Operating Permit, the license for conducting the activity, connection to the electricity grid and other procedures necessary to obtain the ancillary documentation are administrative procedures, and the deadlines for obtaining such documents are specified in the actual regulation specifying the procedure for obtaining an administrative decision necessary for construction of the small hydropower plant or for engaging in the activity of electricity generation. In case such deadlines are not stipulated in the specific regulations, the provisions of the Law on General Administrative Procedure shall apply to the deadline for issuing of the particular administrative decision. (*47) (*48)
Propisi za izgradnju male hidroelektrane se mogu podeliti u dve osnovne grupe: propisi kojima je uređena oblast planiranja i izgradnje objekata i propisi kojima je uređena oblast energetike. U grupu propisa kojima je uređena oblast planiranja i izgradnje spadaju: Zakon o planiranju i izgradnji, podzakonski akti doneti na osnovu zakona kojim je uređena oblast planiranja i izgradnje i Zakon o prostornom planu Republike Srbije, prateći planski dokumenti (regionalni prostorni planovi, prostorni planovi jedinice lokalne samouprave i prostorni planovi područja posebne namene i urbanistički planovi: generalni urbanistički plan, plan generalne regulacije, plan detaljne regulacije) i drugi propisi. Zakonom o planiranju i izgradnji je uređen postupak dobijanja lokacijske dozvole, građevinske dozvole i upotrebne dozvole, dok su planskim dokumentima definisani ciljevi prostornog planiranja i razvoja, prostornog uređenja, odnosno da li je planirano da se u određenom vremenskom periodu izgradi određeni objekat na određenom mestu u Republici Srbiji. Da bi se pribavile lokacijska i građevinska dozvola, potrebno je pribaviti energetskotehničke uslova za priključenje na prenosni ili distributivni elektroenergetski sistem, kao i vodne uslove, vodnu saglasnost i vodnu dozvolu, koje se izdaju u skladu sa Zakonom o vodama i pratećim propisima ovog zakona.
U grupu propisa kojima je uređena oblast energetike spadaju: Zakon o energetici, prateći propisi ovog zakona, Strategija razvoja energetike Republike Srbije, Program ostvarivanja Strategije razvoja energetike Republike Srbije i drugi gore navedeni propisi koji se odnose na energetsku dozvolu, licencu za obavljanje energetske delatnosti, priključenje objekta na mrežu i sl. Zakonom o energetici je predviđeno da se energetski objekti mogu graditi ako Ministar rudarstva i energetike izda energetsku dozvolu podnosiocu zahteva. Postupak za dobijanje energetske dozvole se reguliše Pravilnikom o kriterijumima za izdavanje energetske dozvole, sadržini zahteva i načinu izdavanja energetske dozvole (*46). Takođe je predviđeno da se energetska dozvola izdaje u skladu sa Strategijom razvoja energetike Republike Srbije i sa Programom ostvarivanja Strategije razvoja energetike Republike Srbije, u kom se uređuju uslovi i mesto gde konkretan energetski objekat treba da se izgradi. Postupak dobijanja energetske dozvole prethodi postupku dobijanja građevinske dozvole za konkretni objekat, a koji je regulisan grupom propisa o planiranju i izgradnji.Postupci koji se odnose na dobijanje energetske dozvole, lokacijske dozvole, građevinske dozvole, upotrebne dozvole, licence za obavljanje delatnosti, priključenja na elektroenergetsku mrežu i drugi postupci neophodni za dobijanje prateće dokumentacije su upravni postupci, a rokovi za dobijanje ovih akata su utvrđeni samim propisom kojim je regulisan postupak dobijanja nekog upravnog akta neophodnog za izgradnju male hidroelektrane ili obavljanje delatnosti proizvodnje električne energije. U slučaju da ovi rokovi nisu utvrđeni konkretnim propisima, na rok izdavanja konkretnog upravnog akta se primenjuje Zakon o opštem upravnom postupku. (*47)(*48)
Procedure for Construction of Small Hydropower Plants
In order to construct and utilize any structure in the Republic of Serbia, including a small hydropower plant, it is necessary to fulfill the following requirements: 1) to obtain the Energy Permit; 2) to obtain the location permit; 3) to obtain the Construction Permit; 4) to Selection of the Location, Perusal of Valid Planning Documents, and the Information on Location
construct the structure providing professional supervision throughout the construction period, and 5) to ensure the technical inspection of the structure and to obtain the Operating Permit. Construction of structures in the Republic of Serbia formally starts with obtaining of the Construction Permit, and the technical documentation, under the terms and conditions and in the manner stipulated under the Law on Planning and Construction. Prior to obtaining the Construction Permit, the preceding procedure shall include: 1) obtaining the Energy Permit required for construction of energy facilities, including small hydropower plants exceeding the capacity of 1 MW; 2) obtaining the location permit in accordance with the valid planning document; 3) preparation of the technical documentation – the Main Design. Within the procedure for obtaining the location permit from the competent authorities and organizations, it is necessary to obtain the Water Requirements, electric power and technical requirements for connection to the electricity grid, the requirements for connection to the public utility infrastructure, etc. An environmental Impact Assessment Study (IAS) may also be required during the procedure for obtaining the Construction Permit for small hydropower plants exceeding the capacity of 2 MW.
The first step of a prospective investor or the person for whose requirements the structure is constructed and to whom the Construction Permit for construction of the small hydropower plant is issued is certainly selection of the location. The energy potential of watercourses and the locations (*49) for construction of small hydropower plants in Serbia are specified in the document entitled Cadastre of Small Hydropower plants in the Territory of the SR Serbia, Excluding the SAP from 1987, encompassing over 860 locations. The Cadastre was jointly prepared by Energoproject – Hidroengineering Company and Jaroslav Cerni Institute for the Public Company Združene elektroprivrede, while the Cadastre of Small Hydropower plants in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (Hidroinvest DTD, 1989) (*50) includes 13 hydropower plants. As an exception, it would be possible to construct such facilities in other locations, too, subject to approval by the Ministry of Mining and Energy concerning maximum utilization of the watercourse potentials and upon approvals granted by other relevant Ministries and Institutions. For the existing multi-purpose catchment areas, the hydropower parameters for the construction of small hydropower plants, which also determine the maximum capacity of the plants, are prescribed by the JVP Srbijavode, Belgrade, or by JVP Vode Vojvodine, Novi Sad for the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. If at any of the envisaged locations included in the Cadastres, due to changed hydro-geological requirements, constructed buildings or structures or due to other major changes occurring in the meantime in land development and utilization, thus rendering the construction of the small hydropower plant unfeasible or reducing significantly the expected capacity with reference to the capacity stated in the cadastre sheet, subject to approval of the Ministry of Mining and Energy such construction of the small hydropower plant may be approved at a different location, or at several locations on the same watercourse, ensuring full utilization of the available energy potential (*51). The second step of the investor is verification as to whether the valid planning documents envisage construction of an energy facility (*52) at the selected location. One should bear in mind that small hydropower plants may also be constructed on agricultural land, subject to prior approval obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management. In the unit of local self-government, in which territory the selected location is situated, one can get for one’s own perusal the valid planning document in which it is possible to check whether construction of energy facilities has been envisaged at that particular location. Thereafter, an Application for obtaining the Information on the Location is to be submitted for the desired location, for the purpose of obtaining the data on the possibilities and limitations with respect to the construction on the reviewed cadastral lot in line with the valid planning document. The application for issuing the Information on Location is submitted to the authority in charge of issuing the Location Permit (*53), against remuneration of the actual costs of issuing of such Information. Together with the application for issuing the information on location, a copy of the lot(s) plan is to be submitted, which had been previously applied for in the competent real estate cadastral service in the territory of the municipality. When procuring a copy of the plan, it is recommended to apply also for a transcript of the title deed for the subject cadastral lot from the real estate cadastral service, in order to identify the owner of the land.
In addition to the name of the applicant, the number of the cadastral lot, and the place where it is located, the Information on Location shall also contain (*54) the data on: 1) the planning document which served as a basis for its issuance; 2) the zone in which it is located; 3) the use of the land; 4) the regulation and building lines; 5) Codes of Construction; 6) the requirements for connection to the infrastructure; 7) the need to prepare a detailed urban plan or urban design (*55); 8) the cadastral lot, respectively whether the cadastral lot fulfills the requirements for the building plot including the instructions on the required procedure for forming of the building plot; 9) engineering and geological conditions; 10) any special requirements for issuing the Location Permit (a list of requirements). The Information on Location enables the person, to whose name it is issued, to gather all special requirements (requirements for protection of cultural monuments, requirements for preservation of the environment, etc.) and technical requirements (the place and method of service connections of the structure to the infrastructure lines, as well as their capacities) prior to the issuing of the location permit.
The Information on Location is issued by the authority in charge of issuing the location permits, within eight days as of the date of submitting the application, against remuneration of the actual costs of issuing of such information. Regarding further activities related to construction of a small hydropower plant, one should keep in mind that the small hydropower plant facilities are within the remit of the local self-government units, except in cases when the facility is constructed within the boundaries of a national park or within the boundaries of protection of a protected natural asset of outstanding significance in which case it is within the remit of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning, or within the remit of the competent body of the Autonomous Province, in case it is situated in the territory of the Autonomous Province. (*56)
Details of Relevant Legislation
(*46) The Energy Permit is not required for small hydropower plants with capacity below 1MW.
(*47) The Law on General Administrative Procedure (Official Gazette of the RoS, Nos. 33/97 and 31/01).
(*48) Article 208 of the Law on General Administrative Procedure stipulates that the deadline for issuing of the decision by the competent administrative authority is one month, unless it is necessary to undertake a special examining procedure in which case it shall not exceed two months from the date of duly submitted application.General deadline for an appeal is fifteen days from the date of receipt of the first-instance decision, unless otherwise stipulated by the law. Article 236 of the Law on General Administrative Procedure stipulates that, in case the administrative authority fails to issue the administrative decision for which a duly submitted application had been lodged, upon expiry of the deadline for issuing the decision the applicant shall be entitled to lodge an appeal since the first-instance application has not been decided on.
(*49) The Decree on Amending the Decree on Establishing the Implementation Program of the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2010 for the period from 2007-2012, published in December 2009.
(*50) Both above referenced documents are available on the web site of the Ministry of Mining and Energy of the Republic of Serbia.
(*51) Program of the Energy Sector Development Strategy of the Republic of Serbia indicates that under prevailing market conditions it is realistic to expect that small hydropower plants will be constructed on 5-10% of the total number of locations included in the SHPP Cadastres.
(*52) Draft Planning Documents of Municipalities with plotted locations of the power plants from the SHPP Cadastre are currently being prepared, and these are due to be adopted in the forthcoming period. The Planning Documents for some Municipalities have already been adopted.
(*53) The Authority in charge of issuing the Location Permit, and consequently, also the Information on Location is the relevant body of the local self-government unit (Municipality, City). Location permits for construction of small hydro power plants in the protected environs of outstanding cultural assets, and cultural assets registered in the Lists of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and structures in protected areas in compliance with the decision on protection of cultural assets, as well as structures within the boundaries of a national park and structures within the boundaries of protection of a protected outstanding natural asset, are issued by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning or by the relevant body of the Autonomous Province, if the facility is located in the territory of the Autonomous Province.
(*54) The Rulebook on Contents of Information on Location and Contents of Location Permit (Official Gazette of the RoS, No. 3/10).
(*55) In cases of small hydropower plants, it is common practice that the spatial plan envisages preparation of an urban design. The urban design is prepared when it is envisaged in the urban development plan, spatial plan of the unit of local self-government, or in the spatial plan of a special-purpose area and it contains: 1) the requirements for construction on the building plot including all special requirements, 2) the conceptual designs, 3) the description, technical description, and explanation of the solution from the urban design, etc. The urban design may be prepared by a legal entity or an entrepreneur registered in the registry for preparation of technical documentation, and preparation of the design is managed by the town planner-in-charge, of architectural professional background. The competent authority of the unit of local self-government organizes a public presentation of the project open to the public for 7 days, and then the urban design is submitted to the Planning Commission, which is obliged, within 30 days, to check harmonization of the design with the spatial document and the Law on Planning and Construction. The competent authority of the unit of local self-government issues the certificate that the urban design has been prepared in compliance with the urban development plan, spatial plan of the unit of local self-government, or with the special-purpose spatial plan and the Law on Planning and
(*56) Article 133, paragraph 9) of the Law on Planning and Construction stipulates that the facilities within the remit of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning are those within the boundaries of a national part and facilities within the boundaries of protection of a protected natural asset of outstanding significance. Article 30 and Article 34 of the Law on Nature Protection specify national parks and nature parks within protected areas and, in addition to the types of protected areas, it also defines the protected zones where certain types of protection are enforced (construction of some types of structures might even be prohibited).
Note: This text is taken from the document-guide for investors "Construction of Small Hydropower Plants and Power Generation in the Republic of Serbia", of which authors are Dr. Branislava Lepotic Kovacevic, PhD Law, Biljana Trajkovic, MSc C. Eng, and Bojan Lazarevic, BSc El. Eng.
The project was implemented under the patronage of USAID, GTZ / GIZ Serbia and the Ministry of Energy in 2010.