The Guardian: The future of renewable energy in Albania

The Guardian: The future of renewable energy in Albania

The Guardian has published an article on the efforts several developing countries are making to develop the renewable energy sector as a move for ditching fossil fuels. The article expressed the opinion of John O’Brien {regional technical adviser on climate change mitigation for the UN Development Programme in Europe and Central Asia} on the current and future development of this sector in Albania.

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Albania, a small country of 2.77 million inhabitants, has big potential and an exciting future for renewable energy. Driven by a desire to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels and promote a secure supply of energy, the government of Albania has been very eager to encourage increased investment in renewable energy and in 2013 a law was passed to promote renewable energy.

The new renewable energy law sets a nationally binding target for renewable energy (non-hydro) of 38% by the year 2020. In addition, it provides for priority grid access for renewable energy projects, for streamlined licensing procedures, for the ability to sign sale and purchase agreements for renewable energy for up to 15 years and for preferential feed-in-tariffs, to be established by the regulator. This package of measures should provide greater confidence to investors that their investments in renewable energy in Albania offer an attractive rate of return in a country that, for its size, has abundant renewable energy resources.

Albania has among the highest number of sunshine hours per year in Europe

Water is Albania’s most important natural resource. At least eight large rivers run through the country, fed by hundreds of smaller streams and total hydropower resources are estimated at 4500MW. In addition, solar energy potential (for both photovoltaic and solar hot-water heaters) is excellent as the country has among the highest number of sunshine hours per year in Europe (an average of 2,400). Wind energy potential for Albania is also very good along the Adriatic coast.

The law on renewable energy was passed two years ago but investment in non-hydro renewable energy in the country is yet to take off. Partly this is because secondary legislation is not yet in place and partly because of lack of private sector awareness of the possibilities available.

Over the longer term, the potential for increased investment in renewable energy in Albania is excellent as the country becomes an energy exporter. Albania plans to spend over $200m to build power cables to Italy, a country with excess energy demand. This should help drive additional investment in renewable energy.

Photo by epSos.de / Wikimedia


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