Albania seeks contractor for second PV plant on hydropower dam


Photo: iStock


June 7, 2023



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June 7, 2023



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Albanian state-owned electricity producer KESH is receiving bids for a solar power project on its Zadeja dam, belonging to hydropower plant Vau i Dejës. The contract will include maintenance.

The transformation of the Vau i Dejës hydropower plant in Albania into an innovative energy hub is gaining traction. After setting up a 5.1 MW solar power unit on the Qyrsaq dam and conducting a qualification tender for a 12.9 MW floating photovoltaic facility on the lake, KESH is now seeking a contractor for a solar power plant on another dam.

The deadline for bids for project design, engineering, construction, commissioning and a two-year maintenance period expires on July 3. The state-owned power producer valued the investment at a maximum EUR 7.6 million without VAT. The solar power plant of 8.25 MW in peak capacity is envisaged to be installed on the Zadeja dam in Vau i Dejës.

Bidders must offer proof of experience

The selected company will be tasked with commissioning the facility in Albania’s northwest, near the border with Montenegro, within 17 months. The first assignment is to produce a feasibility study.

Eligible bidders have built a similar solar power plant worth at least 50% of the Zadeja project in the past five years and with a capacity of a minimum 4 MW, the notice reads. To participate in the tender, every company also needs to prove that, in the same period, it installed a total of 16 MW or more and that the overall value of the contracts was at least two times higher than the one in the new public call.

The hydropower plant is more than five decades old

Vau i Dejës is located in the Shkodra area. It is the third and last hydropower plant in KESH’s Drin river cascade, which has 1.35 GW in capacity. Privately owned hydropower units Ashta 1 and 2, with 53 MW combined, are right beneath Vau i Dejës. It should be noted that Albania picked Bechtel to build hydropower plant Skavica, upstream from the Fierza and Koman facilities, for KESH.

The reservoir at Vau i Dejës can hold 580 million cubic meters of water. Zadeja, one of the three dams, is 79 meters high. The hydropower plant’s first three units were put into operation in 1970 and the last two in 1975. Total capacity is 250 MW.

Authorities considered adding wind turbines to Vau i Dejës

The contractor’s responsibilities will include the installation of a control and monitoring system for the solar power plants on both dams. The company has been silent on whether it plans to integrate them with the hydroelectric facility and run it as a hybrid power plant.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku suggested in 2021 that a wind power plant would be added to the complex.

KESH’s subsidiary Solar Energy of Albania – SENA is responsible for the floating solar power project, worth EUR 13.9 million, but also for future photovoltaic endeavors including maintenance.

Also in Albania, Ocean Sun completed a floating PV plant in December on the reservoir of Statkraft’s Banja hydropower plant in Albania. It is the first such facility in Southeastern Europe except for a few pilot projects in Turkey.

The country’s electricity system still relies almost 100% on hydropower plants and there are no wind turbines yet, so diversification efforts are focused largely on solar power.

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