Renewables

Oil refinery in Ballsh in Albania to be turned into 100 MW solar power plant

Oil refinery in Ballsh in Albania to be turned into 100 MW solar power plant

Photo: Samuel Faber from Pixabay

Published

January 13, 2023

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Published:

January 13, 2023

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A shuttered bitumen production facility in the Balkans may reincarnate as a major photovoltaic plant. Greennat Solar Park Ballsh has won the right to install 100 MW of solar power or sell the project in Fier county.

The Council of Ministers approved the construction of a photovoltaic park at the site of the abandoned oil refinery in Ballsh in southern Albania. The current owner, Shijaku, is dismantling the facility into scrap iron. The plant was mostly producing bitumen in the last phase. It turned into a mountain of debt while the local authority and workers were left without income.

Shijaku’s subsidiary Greennat Solar Park Ballsh now has an opportunity to transform the place by installing a 100 MW solar power plant. The conditions are similar to the government’s earlier deal with the developers of solar power projects Blue-1 and Blue-2, also in Fier county. The area is becoming a hub for investments in photovoltaics.

The renewable energy project at the location of the former refinery in the municipality of Mallakastër isn’t the subject of any support measures, according to the announcement. The government said it expects the facility to be built within 60 months. It can operate for 49 years.

Developer must report every three months to authorities

The owner can transfer the rights to a third party only if the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy clears such an agreement. The company is obligated to provide a guarantee equivalent to 5% of the proposed investment before signing the contract, the decree says.

The company is obligated to provide a guarantee equivalent to 5% of the proposed investment before signing the contract

The operator of the solar power plant in Ballsh will need to deliver 2% of its annual electricity output as a royalty fee or pay the equivalent. The firm may need to sell some of the electricity to the public supplier in line with the current legislation, the government in Tirana said.

Furthermore, it must inform the ministry and the National Agency of Natural Resources (AKBN) every three months on the progress in the implementation of the project.

Applications pouring in for renewable energy projects without state aid

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku has highlighted the rising interest within the private sector in the construction of green electricity plants without subsidies.

The ministry said last month that it received five such applications. Aurous Energy has expressed interest in building a 50 MW photovoltaic unit in the village of Povelçë in Dërmenas in Fier. 5GX Energy filed documentation for a solar power project of 10 MW next to Allprenaj, a village in the Golem administrative unit in the municipality of Lushnje in the same county.

A firm called BAD wants to install a 10 MW photovoltaic plant in Osojë village in Maliq in the Korça area. Delta Plan Studio and Argo Sun Energy have expressed interest in building a solar power plant of 5 MW in Delvinë in the Vlora county. The fifth project is for a wind power plant of 50 MW in Dropull near Gjirokastër. The initiative was launched by EU Green Energy and Winpharma.

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