Developers of wind power projects between 10 MW and 75 MW in Albania can apply for a tender with an initial quota of 100 MW in total. The successful bidders will be awarded 15-year power purchase agreements at a fixed price.
The Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy launched the first phase of its first competition for contracts for electricity from wind parks. Investors have one year to qualify for the tender and the plan is to approve fixed power purchase prices by the end of June 2023.
Minister Belinda Balluku said projects with a capacity of between 10 MW and 75 MW would be eligible for the first competitive procurement processes for the technology. Several bidders with the lowest prices against the ceiling of EUR 75 per MWh will get 15-year power purchase agreements with OSHEE, the government-controlled power distribution company and retail supplier.
Quota may be lifted to 150 MW
The initial quota is 100 MW but it may be boosted to as much as 150 MW, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. EBRD has provided assistance to the country’s authorities in the introduction of auctions for renewable energy projects.
EBRD and Switzerland’s SECO helped the government develop the competitive procurement processes
“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,” the bank’s Director for the Western Balkans Matteo Colangeli said.
The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) provided technical assistance for the development of the regulation that enabled the tenders. It also helped the production of a study in which zones suitable for wind power were defined.
No wind power plants at altitudes below 150 meters
Minister Balluku pointed out that 20% of land in Albania is available and that the map grades the areas throughout the country from high to low suitability for the development of wind power projects. The document also defined no-go zones such as those that are protected and those that are at less than 150 meters above sea level.
A conference is planned later this year for potential participants in the auction
Unlike in the solar energy auctions, the government won’t provide the land for the wind parks. EBRD said the developers must meet stringent technical, environmental and social requirements and that the ministry would organize a conference for prospective bidders later this year.
Albania must wean off dependence on hydropower
The tender will help Albania diversify energy sources and overcome the dependence on hydropower plants, Prime Minister Edi Rama said. When precipitation is too low, the country must buy electricity from abroad.
Rama pointed to the Skavica hydropower plant project and added it would preserve water upstream on the Black Drin and prevent flooding. The idea is also to boost the average output of hydropower plants that are downstream in a cascade.
The government has the ambition to make Albania a net exporter of electricity, the prime minister underscored.
Five 10 MW wind projects line up for permits
The Balkan country doesn’t have any wind power plants even though it has vast potential. It also makes no electricity from coal. The solar power market is in expansion, but very little capacity came online so far.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy said it received applications for five wind power plants of 10 MW each, to be built in the Karaburun Peninsula in the southwest, near Vlora, also known as Valona. They were submitted by BRD Energy, GMT Energy, GRS Energy, MGN Energy and ORT Investment.
According to the announcement, the projects won’t benefit from any government support measures. Albania has a scheme for power purchases from wind power plants with up to 3 MW in capacity at EUR 75.64 per MWh. Such projects are not subject to concession.