Albania launches auction for 300MW of new PV capacity

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Albanian deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and energy Belinda Balluku announcing the auction. Image: Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy

The Albanian government has launched its fifth round of auction for new PV projects, and is aiming to add 300MW of new capacity to the country’s energy grid.

Deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and energy Belinda Balluku announced the auction this week, which will be open to companies to submit technical and financial bids until 17 May.

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Renewables already dominate the country’s energy mix, with the European Commission (EC) reporting that, between 2011 and 2021, the percentage of Albania’s energy demand met by renewables increased from 66.1% to 94.4%, but the government is keen to expand its renewables sector further.

The auction will close on 10 July, and while Balluku did not specify when the proposed projects would be expected to be commissioned, the close deadlines suggest the government plans to expand its solar portfolio quickly.

The minister also noted that proposed projects could have a power generation capacity of between 10MW and 100MW, and that the government would purchase power generated at these projects as part of a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

Auctions such as these could be a key component of the government’s plan to become a net energy exporter by the end of the decade, with Albania reliant on foreign electricity to meet its power demand. The EC notes that Albania has the lowest net energy imports among countries in the Western Balkans and Türkiye, importing 0.1 tonnes of oil equivalent per person in 2021, but the government is still keen to change this state of affairs.

Balluku added that the maximum power price for projects supported by this auction would be €59.97/MW (US$65.24/MW), but that she expects to arrange lower prices for successful projects, pointing to a price of €24.89/MW (US$24.89/MW) agreed at another Albanian power auction as a benchmark for the latest tenders.

“Today Albania is faced with a new reality,” said Balluku, in a speech announcing the auction. “Today Albania is in a historic and golden moment for the country’s economy, starting from tourism, agriculture, energy [and] infrastructure. Everything needs more contribution of human resources, not only [for] Albania, [but] the region, Europe and the whole world.”

On the subject of human activity and collaboration, Balluku went on to name a number of companies that have worked with the Albanian government in the past, either to raise funds for energy projects or install new capacity. These include the country’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and French renewables developer Voltalia, which commissioned a 140MW project in southern Albania last December, as part of a tender issued by the government and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

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