Albanian Minister of Energy Belinda Balluku paid a visit to the US focusing on American investments in Albania. Ms Balluku met with representatives of ExxonMobil and Bechtel, two companies which are engaged in Albania in two important projects, the commissioning of the Vlora TPP through liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as the project of the Skavica hydropower plant.
The minister confirmed that ExxonMobil remains committed to the project for the Vlora TPP, which is said to have already turned into an ambitious regional project.
Albania signed an agreement with American energy giant ExxonMobil and Excelerate Energy to turn the Vlora thermal power plant into a terminal for liquified natural gas in March 2021.
In April, the CEO of Excelerate Energy said he hopes to use the project to expand into other countries in the region. “It’s a good power project for Albania,” said Steve Kobos about the floating plants deal to Bloomberg adding that they hope it will lead to the opportunity to deliver natural gas and sell natural gas into Europe from that access.
Albania’s Power Corporation (KESH) and Bechtel signed an agreement to begin the early works for the 210 MW Skavica plant on the Drin river in 2021. Once operational it is said to increase the domestic production of electricity by hydropower plants in Albania by 20 per cent.
During her visit, Ms Balluku met the representatives of Bechtel as well, announcing that not only Skavica but also other important projects of the future were discussed between the parties.
Albania is heavily reliant on hydropower. This gives it an advantage in decarbonising its electricity sector but also makes it highly vulnerable to the changing climate. Massively fluctuating hydropower generation means that despite the addition of hundreds of megawatts in new plants in recent years, the country has to import electricity most years.
Recently, Albania has been threatened by a potential water shortage in critical reservoirs in the North of the country that supplies the main hydropower plants, risking disruption to the electricity supply.