The French renewables company Voltalia has won the contract for the construction and operation of a 100 MW solar plant in Albania following its successful bid in a tender run by the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which supported the tender by providing technical assistance, said on March 30.
According to the EBRD, the new plant, located in the area of Spitallë, in the coastal municipality of Durrës in the west of the country, will diversify energy supply and increase energy security while delivering climate-neutral energy at an affordable price.
EBRD director, Energy Europe, Middle East and Africa, Harry Boyd-Carpenter, said the tender attracted high-quality foreign investment and will deliver solar power at a really competitive price. “Delivering a tariff below €30 per MWh for wholesale electricity is stunning. This is a fantastic result for Albania and for the Western Balkans overall,” he said.
The tender builds on the success of a previous competitive bidding process for solar power supported by the EBRD in Albania at the coastal site of Karavasta, where Voltalia has won the tender to build and operate a 140 MW solar plant, the EBRD said in a press release, adding that it replicates that successful model in support of the development of the local electricity market; part of the electricity produced at the new solar park will benefit from a guaranteed tariff, while part will be sold directly on the free market. EBRD policy engagement to implement the necessary regulatory changes is expected to help attract more investment in the future.
EBRD head of Albania, Matteo Colangeli, said the tender delivered another landmark for the development of solar power in Albania and will attract more high-quality foreign direct investment to the country. “We are proud to be supporting Albania on the path to a sustainable and diversified energy sector,” he said.
The EBRD noted that Albania is a mountainous country and its abundance of water resources has made it dependent on hydropower for electricity generation. The need to diversify its energy sources has been recognised as a policy priority, with a view to increasing climate change resilience and decreasing dependency on electricity imports. The country is committed to developing its solar and wind power potential.
The EBRD has been promoting the scale-up of this process through policy dialogue, technical assistance and investment. The Bank is also supporting Albania in launching the country’s first auction for utility-scale onshore wind power plants, expected in the weeks ahead. Projects totalling 150 MW of capacity will be eligible under the renewable-energy support scheme run by Albania’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has provided grant funding to support the wind auction. To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.5 billion in 110 projects in Albania.