Under the auspices of the Albanian Ministry of Energy and Industry and the Embassy of Greece in Tirana, the Institute of Energy for South East Europe (IENE) organized a workshop event on Albania’s hydroelectric sector in cooperation with domestic counterparts on June 3.
The event examined the role of the country’s hydroelectric potential in terms of electricity exports and energy security in the Western Balkans and Southeastern Europe in general. The need to attract and accelerate investment for the construction of both small and large hydropower plants in Albania but also to maintain and upgrade the existing infrastructure was highlighted.
Albanian, Greek and international experts and companies participated in the event sponsored by Greece’s Public Power Corporation (PPC) and supported by a host of local firms. John Chadjivassiliadis, chairman of IENE, was the coordinator of the opening session. Gezim Musabelliu, Albania’s deputy minister of energy and industry, delivered the keynote speech, followed by ambassador of Greece Leonidas Rokanas.
Manolis Panagiotakis, chairman of PPC, stressed the company’s vision of investments in the region, including Albania’s hydropower sector. The utility faces Greek obligations designed to reduce its market shares in electricity production and supply to less than 50% by 2020, Energy Press reported. The company intends to launch major energy projects in Greece and the wider region, including the submarine cable interconnection of Crete with the country’s mainland, a project being planned by IPTO, or Admie. The power grid operator is under PPC’s control but headed for a bailout-required breakaway. The national power company also wants to develop renewable energy units. PPC is determined to enter the electric car market. Panagiotakis has been announcing transformation efforts as the drop in retail power market share cost the company EUR 108 million last year, while EUR 250 million may be lost in 2016.
The second session was chaired by Abaz Aliko, commissioner of the Albanian Regulatory Authority (ERE), who contributed opening remarks concerning the mission and activities of the body. The next speaker, IENE’s executive director Costis Stambolis, provided an overview of the institute’s activities and presented a background paper on developing Albania’s hydroelectricity potential.
Latest developments in energy regulation as well as the optimal use of energy, water management, rational operation of hydropower plants, electricity supply and demand situation, the lack of sufficient grid connections and the country’s long-term commitment to achieve greater diversification in power generation, were some of the important issues discussed in sessions after that.
The investment prospects in Albania’s hydroelectricity sector and electricity infrastructure was the subject of the final session. The speakers reviewed latest research and market developments. Key energy policy issues, including administrative, financial and non-technical obstacles which hinder investment were examined as was a number of completed and planned hydroelectricity projects.