From: Alice Taylor
Albania Launches Tender for First Wind Farm Power Plant

Albania has launched its first tender for an onshore wind power plant. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development announced the news through a press release.

Any projects with a capacity between 10MW and 75MW can apply. The government will pick several projects with a combined capacity of 100MW, which could be upped to 150MW, in line with Albania’s renewable energy targets. 

The winner of the tender and bidding process is expected to be announced in the first half of 2023.

The Ministry for Infrastructure and Energy has launched the tender with support from the EBRD.

Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans, said: “We are delighted with the progress Albania is making on scaling up wind and solar energy through open and transparent tenders. This is another milestone for the diversification, resilience, and sustainable development of the country’s energy sector.”

Bidders have until mid-June 2022 to submit qualification submissions. They are asked to propose wind-power developments based on a wind siting study and a high-level screening of “no-go” areas.

The news comes following the successful award of two EBRD-supported solar tenders for Karavasta and Spitalle. 

Albania’s first solar power plants were connected to the grid earlier this month.

This will help diversify Albania’s energy supply, which according to the EBRD, is vulnerable as it relies on hydropower which is impacted by seasonal changes.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is providing funding for the technical assistance that covers the new tender and regulatory work in the energy sector to facilitate the introduction of auctions.

Françoise Salamé Guex, Infrastructure Financing Division, SECO Switzerland, commented: “We are proud to support the Government of Albania in developing the country’s wind power market. The launch of the wind tender is an important milestone in attracting private-sector competition to the renewable energy sector in Albania, which is a critical step in transitioning to a diversified low-carbon economy.”

Meanwhile, Albania is still pursuing several hydropower projects, despite them not being green or sustainable. They are taking place or expected to be built on rivers subject to campaigns for their protection.

Furthermore, in 2018, Albania signed a deal with Shell to explore the south of the country for oil, despite complaints from residents. Some of the areas being explored include the banks of the Vjosa River, Europe’s last wild river.

Last week, Bankwatch urged the EBRD to divest from fossil fuel projects in the Western Balkans.

According to BankWatch, the ERBD—which aims to support the private sector of the region covered by BankWatch—has the potential to promote investments in sustainable and renewable energy while supporting the economy of countries in transition and setting the standard for how public finance institutions should support decarburization to a zero-carbon economy. 

BankWatch’s report analyzed how EBRD’s energy-related projects from 2014 to 2020 have failed to send a clear message to the countries. It supports that their own initiatives should align with Paris Agreement Bank’s Energy Sector Strategy (2019-2023). Instead, the ERBD is repeating its past irreversible mistakes, allowing fossil gas investments to continue, the report states. 

In the last six years, the EBRD has invested more in fossil fuels than in renewables. In 2020, more than 70 percent of fossil fuel financing went to major national coal and gas companies.