23-04-2013

Energy In Albania

Authors

  • Konstantinos Kostopoulos, Attorney at Law
    Partner at KSP CONSULTING Law Firm

Albania has significant renewable energy resource potential from hydro, wind, and solar energy. The country currently relies on hydropower for almost all of its electricity, which creates difficulties when water flows are low. The Government of Albania recently adopted new electricity market laws and is undergoing a process of opening that market to competition. An attractive feed-in tariff is already in place for small hydropower, but the Government is still in the process of determining the incentive mechanism for encouraging more near-term investment in renewable energy technologies. Several very large and high-profile wind-farms deals are under development and should provide political pressure to speed the government decision process. The potential areas for follow-on activities to support the expanded use of RES in Albania include support mechanisms and administrative issues. The support mechanism that probably will be chosen by Albanian authorities (green certificates) needs to be developed such that certificates generated in the Albania national market can be sold and traded with the other European countries, especially given the new Italian wind-farm deal. Currently only hydropower makes a significant contribution to the current energy consumption in Albania. However, the country has significant potential for renewable resources in the form of wind, solar and biomass.

WIND ENERGY

Existing situation:

There are some old wind mills still used for grinding wheat or other grains, as well as water pumping.

There are no big wind energy producers in Albania.

Potentials:

It is foreseen that, until 2025, 4% of the total amount of domestic electric energy (around 400 GWh/yr) shall be produced from wind.

A considerable number of areas with high wind energy potentials have been identified in the seaside lowland with capacity of near 30GWh/year or 0.7% of the actual national electric energy production. A detailed study which includes the modeling of the speed wind and country topography is missing.

Recently, the Electricity Regulatory Authority has licensed several companies to develop these potentials of the country.

There are major plans for developing wind energy in Albania in the next few years with significant investment in a proposed 2000MW new generation capacity from wind. Albania is also proposing to become a wind power exporter agreeing to export surplus wind energy to Italy via a planned undersea power cable.

According the study wind speed of is around 6 meters per second (m/s) The good areas in Albania for wind farm locations are especially in the coastal lowlands, in the hills of Northern Albania and mountains of Southern and Eastern Albania. The basic aim our calculation is to guide the transmission operator OST in the assessment of new potential capacity at appropriate grid connection points.

In our energy production analysis we have case studied the 11 wind farm that have been licensed in Albania. For a number of the sites the developer has undertaken site monitoring by putting up masts on the site that actually measure the wind potential at the site. Wind Farm the chosen heights were 60, 55, 50 and 45 metres. Therefore, they can measure the change in wind speed with height.

There are many attractive areas identified in Albania, such as Shkodra (Velipoja, Has) , Kukes, Lezha (Ishull Shengjin, Tale, Balldre), Durres (Ishem, P. Romano), Kavaja (Kryevidh), Fier (Seman), Karavasta (Hoxhara , Hoxhara 2), Vlore (Akerni), Saranda, Korça and Tepelena. The main directions of wind in our country are northwest-southeast and southwest-northeast, with dominant direction towards land. Albania country’s coastline is 345 km north-south direction, where a part is the coastal lowlands and the other coast very close to the south seaside mountain. Inside the territory, the direction and intensity of wind from area to area varies in time.

The main existing constraints (altitude, site accessibility, infrastructures, natural protected areas, power grid) were applied to the actual wind speed and wind potential maps, in order to provide an estimation of the exploitable wind potential. The maps obtained applying the simulation code, subsequently corrected with ground measured data, clearly show the windiest areas, unfortunately not entirely suitable to wind power exploitation due to natural, economic or financial constraints. In order to estimate the actually exploitable areas of Albania, the following (positive and negative) constraints were taken into account:

  • height above sea level (areas lower than 1,800 m);
  • natural or protected areas;
  • road network (distance from national or well-kept gravel roads less than 5 km);
  • electric power supply system (distance from the electric power supply system less than 10 km).

According to the estimates, Albania shows an excellent wind potential, with wind speed values exceeding 8-9 m/s in many areas. A number of interesting areas, especially along the coast and on the ridges of the mountains, with particularly strong winds in the southern part of the Country, have been identified. Their overall exploitable wind potential has been estimated taking into account the main constraints preventing the development of wind power plants (i.e. distance from roads, power lines, protected areas, etc.).

SOLAR ENERGY

The territory of Albania is located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula, at the eastern coast of Adriatic and Ionian seas. It is situated between latitudes 39o38’ - 42o38’ and longitudes 19o16’ - 21o04’ east. Thanks to this geographical position, Albania belongs to Mediterranean climate belt with hot dry summer, with long days of sunshine and mild winter with abundant rainfall, possesing in this way a considerable solar potential energy: most areas of Albania are exposed to more than 1500 kWh/m2 per year varying from 1185 to 1690 kWh/m2 per year. Active exploitation of solar energy is achieved in systems that absorb this energy through flat collectors. Hot water can be used for space heating, when its temperature is high, but it is used largely for Domestic Hot Water (DHW) needs. Now days, this technology has resulted as the most viable for exploitation of solar energy, and various countries such as Israel, Turkey, and Greece provide hot water for residential and service sectors using systems of solar panels. There exists also the possibility of transforming solar energy directly into electrical energy without going through intermediate stages, using photovoltaic systems, but the cost of one energy unit produced by them is around 27-32 US cents/kWh. The donors are carrying out a pilot project on exploitation of photovoltaic systems for pumping of irrigation and potable water.

Solar water heaters are proven technologies to supply domestic hot water to the service sector (e.g. hospitals, hotels), industry and households. However, low electricity prices and non-payments are obstacles. Nevertheless, solar panels have already been available on the market and significant volumes have been installed. In 2010, a total of 10,700 m2 were installed (60% by services, 40% by households), , bringing total installations to 52,000 m2 (equivalent to around 70 GWh/y or 1% of electricity consumed by households in 2009). UNDP is supporting a programme (2011-2015) to install 50 thousand m2 of solar panels based on grants and fiscal incentives.

The Global Environment Facility has provided a grant to develop the country program of Albania, as part of the ( UNDP) / United Nations Environment Program UNEP/Global Environment Facility GEF/ICA Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative. The objectives of the Project is to facilitate the installation of 75,000 m2 of new installed collector area over the duration of the project, reach an annual sale of 20,000 m2 by the end of the project and with expected continuing growth to reach the set target of 520,000 m2 of total installed SWH capacity by 2020.

Albania belongs to the sub-tropical belt. The position of the country generates favorable conditions for a sustainable development of solar energy offering higher potentials than the average of European countries.

Albania receives a level of solar radiation of more than 1500kWh/m2/yr , within a range of 1185 to 1690k Wh/m2/yr. The average of daily solar radiation change from a minimum of 3.2kWh/m2 in the Northeast up to a maximum of 4.6kWh/m2 in the South-Western. The average daily solar radiation of the whole country is near 4.1kWh/m2, which can be considered as a good solar energy regime.

Most areas benefit more than 2200 hours of sunshine per year , while the average for the whole country is about 2400 hours. Fier city has a record of 2850 hours. The number of the solar days has an average of 240-260 days annually with a maximum of 280-300 days annually in the South-Western part.

In the National Strategy of Energy is stated:

“so far the utilization of the solar energy is the most promising technology and economically favorable for Albania”.

Potential production of warm water from solar water heating (SWH) panels shall be equivalent to the quantity of energy of 1000GWh thermal (or125MW thermal of the installed power).

SWH systems are used for thermal power production during the last decade , increased until 23GWh in 2001.

The number of the installed SWH panels in 2003 is increased with 35% compared to 2002. In absolute values, the number of SWH panels installed in 2003 was 2800 units.

Energy Efficiency Centre has designed and implemented in kindergartens and schools three projects funded by EU in2002-2003. The investment amount has been around 85,000EUR installing more than 200m2 of SWH panels.

Based on the assistance of UNDP during 2003, an amount of 160m2 of SWH panels has been installed. The total of the investment reached 70,000USD.

Another significant project in the area of SWH panels is currently under implementation. Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNDP is supporting the Government of Albania to accelerate the market development of SWH panels. It is expected that by continuing growth of installed SWH panels year by year to reach a set target of 540.000m2 by 2020. Photovoltaic panels (PV) are one of the most promising renewable sources of electricity, but also currently by far the most expensive.

The photovoltaic technology (PV) is not still used in Albania, and with a very high probability will not be used even in the near future, because of the high prices which are not affordable for the private sector and households.

Feed in tariffs for the electricity produced by PV systems, which might support the development of the PVmarket does not exist, so it is very unlikely that in the near future this type of technology will be broadly implemented.

Actually, some photovoltaic installations of less that 1kW are used in some remote rural areas. Albania has high potentials to develop RE production.

Unless that the country has fulfilled the targets of EU energy policy set for the year 2020 concerning the share of RE in the overall National Energy Balace, new challenges in developing different RE potentials are forward.

The Government of Albania, recognizing the importance of RE development and considers it a priority. To improve the situation, the National Strategy for Energy is updated. One of the key objectives of this Strategy is the development of renewable resources. RE development can contribute in the diversification of the national energy resource by an environmentally friendly technology.

The establishment of the RE market offers investment opportunities for Albanian medium-sized companies and employment and development of a technology based in Albania.

Renewable energy sources/energy efficiency

The National Strategy of Energy and Law on Heat Conservation of Buildings address renewable energy and energy efficiency in Albania. In support of this objective, the government has focused on providing a price support system for small hydro power plants in particular. Primary responsibility regarding energy efficiency and other environmental interests is vested in the Government.

The Ministry is responsible for developing renewable energy policy. Construction of a new power plant for renewable can be performed by obtaining concession rights or by authorization. Both procedures are carried out by the Ministry and the final decision is issued by the Council of Ministers. Albania also has a Renewable Energy department within the National Agency for Natural Resources, with responsibility for promoting investment, consulting and suggesting policies, proposing energy efficiency measures and implementing plans to comply with annual energy balance on national and regional level.

In 2007 ERE approved a new tariff methodology for small hydro power plants (existing and new). By the end of December 2009 there were 53 hydro power plants (HPP’s), seven wind parks with the capacity 1700 MW, and one plant fuelled with biomass. There is a bilateral Ministerial Agreement for the mutual recognition of green certificates and certificates of origin issues by ERE Albania and GSE Italy.

108 Several important renewable energy investment projects are underway, including an agreement by EVN of Austria and Statkraft of Norway to construct three hydro power plants in the Devoll River, with installed capacities of 173 MW, 138 MW and 28 MW; development by Verbund of Austria of a 48.2 MW hydro power plant in the north; and new wind parks.

In 2005, Albania ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Conclusion

Albania performs reasonably well overall and with respect to its grouping (Group B). Moreover, within its Group, Albania has an electricity sector score of 0.866 relative to an Energy Community average of 0.860 for Energy Community contracting parties only and 0.827 for Energy Community contracting parties and observers (with 1.0 reflecting full adoption and implementation of best practices as identified in the benchmarks and indicators of this Assessment).

Within the electricity sector, Albania has a regulatory framework in place that is relatively compliant with Energy Community requirements, with partial market opening. Major challenges include the country’s singular dependence on, aside from imports, hydro power generation, resulting in volatile supply both seasonally and from year to year, and its large population of vulnerable customers. Potential development of three power projects in biomass, coal and wind could address some volatility issues and improve security of supply.

Within the gas sector, limited transmission infrastructure precludes gas import. The regulatory framework for the sector, however, including mechanisms for promoting investment in infrastructure, is in the process of development, with primary legislation in place.

Related items

More in this category: Gas Sector In Albania »
GREEK LAW DIGEST REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA MINISTRY OF INTEGRATION Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Albania
Nomiki Bibliothiki ALBANIA INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT AGENCY Foreign Investors Association of Albania
     

 

Login

Log in to your account or