The Energy Regulatory Authority (ERE) has issued electricity production licenses to Egnatia Hydropower for a group of hydropower plants near Elbasan in the central part of Albania.
Egnatia Hydropower intends to build seven hydroelectric plants with a total capacity of 48.9 MW on the river Gostima in the Shkumbin basin. Its concession agreement is valid for just over 25 more years, according to ERE, which has issued licenses for electricity production for the cascade.
The largest unit is envisaged with a capacity of 16.8 MW, and the smallest one is seen at just 450 kW. According to available data, earlier there were at least 11 projects for hydropower plants planned to be installed on the Gostima.
A wave of investments in small hydropower plants in the Western Balkans and beyond prompted protests against dozens of projects in the past several years, but there is opposition also to larger endeavors. Locals complain about losing access to water and numerous scientists are warning of erosion risks and threats to wildlife. Furthermore, climate change makes both floods and droughts more frequent.
Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama has repeatedly said his government wouldn’t allow the construction of hydropower plants on the Vjosa, one of the last wild rivers in Europe.