From: Alice Taylor
New Solar Power Applications Submitted in Albania

The Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy has reported a total of four new applications for solar plants, with a combined total capacity of 14 MW.

Three of the plants have a combined capacity of 2 MW each and would benefit from government support measures, while the fourth has a capacity of 8MW and would not benefit.

Two of the 2 MW plants would be located in Fier, while another is destined for Durres. The fourth and largest would be built in Kamza, also in the Durres region.

Applications for solar plants have been increasing in Albania in recent years, as have wind power plants.

Albania currently has a number of solar power projects in the pipeline, equating to a combined 570 megawatts of power, when completed.

The projects include:

  • SVP Blue 1 and SVP Blue 2, 100 MW combined
  • Vau i Dejes 5.1 MW and 12.9 MW
  • Karavastar Solar 140 MW
  • Info-Telecom 50 MW
  • Agar- Solar 150 MW
  • Spitalle Solar Park 100 MW

Prime Minister Edi Rama said in October 2021 that Albania will become a regional champion in renewable energy production. While most energy produced in the country is from hydropower plants, this is not sustainable in the long term due to increasing demand and climate change.

In terms of wind power, in March, Energy Minister Belinda Balluku announced works had started on an offshore wind project.

In mid-2021, she announced the opening of bidding for a total of 100MW of onshore windfarms with the potential to increase it to 150MW.

Each bidder can apply for a project between 10MW and 75MW and those that are successful will get 15-years power purchase at a fixed price. Contracts are due to be approved by the end of June 2023.

The International Renewable Energy Agen (IRENA) said in a 2021 report that Albania has potential to deploy up to 616MW of solar and wind power by 2030 and has a potential of 7GW, three times the amount of energy the country generates currently.

The government has also announced plans to gasify the country, although this is not a renewable or sustainable form of energy.

The Commission for Industrial Activities (KVP) said that a total of six projects would need to be implemented in the country to achieve efficient distribution of natural gas.

In particular, these include expanding the Ionian-Adriatic pipeline and the development of the Vlora thermal power plant.

Minister of Energy, Belinda Balluku spoke of the country’s gasification in parliament, stating that works are underway to complete two large projects that will help the country’s transition to gas.

“For two years we are completing two major projects and gasification of the country. It’s a project with America’s biggest companies. They will finish it in record time. Not only the ignition of TEC, but also the gas pipeline from the port of Vlora to the TAP area in Seman. It will start to be distributed either in Italy or in countries like Bulgaria,” she said.

This so-called “gasification” has an estimated pricetag of EUR 4 billion according to stakeholder estimates.

But the use of gas, especially by countries that are not currently dependent on it, has raised concerns from environmental stakeholders. They fear that money will be wasted on expensive, time-consuming projects that are not sustainable and will lock in the region to gas, as the rest of Europe wants to move towards renewable energy.