Albanians will enjoy greater energy security with the success of the country’s first solar tender, won by the French renewables company Voltalia, reported the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Under the agreement, Voltalia will build and operate a 140 megawatts (MW) solar plant at the Albanian coastal site of Karavasta, selling half the energy it produces to the Albanian state energy distribution company for a price of 24.89 euros per MW/hour, with the remaining half sold in the market.
“The Albanian government had the courage to continue and were rewarded by the lowest price of power in the Balkans,” said Harry Boyd-Carpenter, the EBRD’s Director and Head of Energy EMEA. “This shows the power of markets. If you run a well-structured tender then the private sector can deliver public goods in fantastically competitive and imaginative ways.”
Albania is almost entirely dependent on hydropower for its electricity supply. This gives the country an advantage in decarbonising its electricity sector but also makes it highly vulnerable to the changing climate. The country is also one of the few Balkan countries producing oil with the state-owned Albpetrol active in the development, production and trade of crude oil.
“Albania has great potential in solar,” commented Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Head of Office in Albania. “This first project will diversify the country’s energy sources, increase its resilience to climate change, and bring in much needed foreign investment.”
The investment is a neat fit for Voltalia, which produces electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and biomass and is involved in storage. The company said last year it would more than double its installed capacity to over 1 gigawatt (GW) by 2020 and intended to add another 1.6 GW of renewable assets in operation or under construction by 2023.
“We are very pleased to consolidate our presence in Europe with the largest solar plant in the West Balkan region,” said Sébastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia. “I thank the teams of Voltalia in Albania, Greece, Portugal and France who have been fully mobilized on this major project despite the constraints created by the sanitary crisis.”