- IRENA’s new report on Albania’s energy market shows the country can benefit immensely from vast deployments of solar and wind
- It can lower its dependence on climate impacts, rainfall dependent hydropower and energy imports and become self-reliant primarily with these 2 technologies
- Authors recommend the government to undertake proactive planning, and establishment of a dedicated renewable energy agency among factors that can help build a robust energy sector in the country
Together the solar and wind power potential of Albania is estimated at over 7 GW, of which by 2030, it can install 1,074 MW of solar PV capacity by 2030, according to the Renewables Readiness Assessment: The Republic of Albania report. Of this, around 616 MW of wind energy can be deployed by 2030.
Authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the report, as the name suggests, offers a renewables readiness assessment for Albania arguing that the country could significantly improve its energy security by deploying vast solar and wind resources, thereby reducing its energy system vulnerability to climate impacts.
At the end of 2018, Albania had a total of 2,204 MW installed electricity capacity with 10 MW of solar PV capacity connected to the grid. But since then there has been an increasing interest in the technology thanks to the introduction of state support in the form of feed-in-tariff (FIT) for solar PV plants of up to 2 MW. State auctions are also encouraging investor interest in large scale solar resources (see Tender Launched For Albania’s 100 MW Solar Park). This capacity was just won by France’s Voltalia (see Voltalia Wins 100 MW Albanian Solar Auction). The French developer is already building the 140 MW Karavasta solar park that it won in the country’s 2nd solar auction in May 2020 (see Voltalia Wins 140 MW Albanian Solar Auction).
Albania enjoys 220 sunshine days or 2,700 hours of sunshine annually as one of the European nations with the highest number of sunshine hours per year, which makes it an excellent bet to host solar PV capacity.
“According to a IRENA’s study on the cost-competitive renewable energy potential in South East Europe, Albania’s technical potential for the deployment of solar PV is estimated at 2,378 MW, with production of 3,706 GWh annually,” emphasizes the report. “IRENA’s CESEC study proposes in its REmap scenario a solar PV installed capacity of 1,074 MW by 2030, with annual generation potential of 1,697 GWh.”
Currently, the country remains highly dependent on weather dependent hydropower technology due to which it has to also depend on energy imports. To deal with this, Albania’s energy mix needs to diversify and become self-reliant with the help of solar and wind energy. “Diversifying the energy mix will mitigate Albania’s exposure to external factors and build stability,” recommends the report.
IRENA recommends proactive planning based on the country’s resource potential, along with further strengthening of existing support mechanisms for renewable energy deployment, streamlining approval processes and establishment of a dedicated renewable energy agency to coordinate development of renewables in line with national and international obligations as the ways to develop a robust energy sector in Albania.
The report is available on IRENA’s website for free download.