Albania to limit final project approvals for renewables to one year

Albania limit final project approvals renewables one year

Photo: Belinda Balluku / Facebook


January 12, 2024






January 12, 2024





Final approvals for renewable electricity projects in Albania will expire after 12 months to discourage investors from buying and selling them, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Energy. It is preparing to issue the public call for a 300 MW solar power auction next week, while an energy storage auction might be in the works as well, according to the annual presentation. State-owned power utility KESH revealed a pumped storage hydropower project alongside 76 MW of solar power capacity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku called on private investors to take their energy projects very seriously. All approvals, both final and preliminary, will have expiration dates, she warned at an annual conference.

Investors in energy are welcome and needed, she stressed and claimed that the process is very simple as regards requirements like the location and technical study. Albania doesn’t want permits and documentation to be bought and sold, Balluku asserted.

“The final approval will last only 12 months before the start of construction, not to keep it in your pocket for three years and sell it one to another,” the deputy prime minister explained.

Approvals issued for 896 MW in solar power capacity, 86 MW for wind power

There are 64 solar power projects with final approvals outside subsidy mechanisms, with an overall capacity of 603 MW, Balluku revealed. It compares to just 13 final approvals for 37 MW in wind power.

Preliminary consent, which in 99% of cases leads to final approval, was given for 16 photovoltaic projects of an overall 293 MW and nine in the wind segment, for 49 MW, Balluku said. Altogether, the planned capacities are 896 MW and 86 MW, respectively.

There are still no operational wind turbines in Albania

It compares to 49 requests for solar power of 1.9 GW in total and 26 of 2.05 GW for wind, which are being processed. There are still no operational wind turbines in Albania.

The ministry scheduled the launch of the public call for a 300 MW solar power auction for January 15. The preliminary, qualification deadline is set for April 29, after which the technical offers would be evaluated until May 24. The participants would have until July 7 to submit their bids, which should be opened three days later.

In addition, a reference to a plan for an energy storage auction appeared among the slides in the ministry’s presentation, but the officials didn’t address the topic.

Photovoltaics other than agrisolar are allowed only on lowest-graded land

Turning to the agrivoltaics concept, also known as agrisolar, Balluku said investors can combine agricultural production with solar power facilities on land in categories 7 and 8. Other solar power plants are allowed only on the lowest-graded land – 9 and 10, she added.

“Albania is a small country, where land is truly one of the most valuable assets we have,” she stated, but also added that a balance must be found with energy needs.

KESH to turn hydropower plant Fierza to pumped storage system

State-owned power utility KESH is planning to install a pumped storage system the future surplus in solar and wind power output, its Administrator Ergys Verdho announced. At the end of 2025, the company will have 76 MW of photovoltaics under operation, he estimated.

Therefore it intends to establish a system that would pump water from hydropower plant Koman back upstream to hydropower plant Fierza, Verdho explained, as quoted by SCAN TV. He highlighted the fact that the Koman reservoir is small, arguing that the upgrade would bolster efficiency at times of stronger flows.

Statkraft is also developing a pumped storage hydropower project in Albania.

Of note, transmission system operator OST broke ground in late December on the first electricity interconnection project with North Macedonia.

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