Wind, Solar Can Improve Energy Security and Independence in Albania: IRENA

Albania could significantly improve its energy security and reduce energy system vulnerability to climate impacts by deploying its vast solar and wind resources, said the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its new report.

March 25, 2021. By Manu Tayal

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Albania could significantly improve its energy security and reduce energy system vulnerability to climate impacts by deploying its vast solar and wind resources, said the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its new report.

Full exploration of national renewable energy potential will also offer important socio-economic benefits, including job creation, new income streams, local industrial development, and reduced air pollution, per the report titled ‘Renewables Readiness Assessment: The Republic of Albania’.

Albania has some of Europe’s highest sunshine hours per year that can be used to generate electricity from solar PV, and heat water by continued installation of solar thermal panels. In addition, cost-effective solar and wind potential is estimated at more than 7 GW, over than three times the country’s total installed electricity capacity, the report notes. Around 616 MW of this wind energy is deployable by 2030.

While Albania’s vast hydropower resources means it has one of the highest shares of renewable energy in South East Europe, it is also highly dependent on annual rainfall – resulting in high vulnerability to climatic externalities. In 2017, the country was forced to import nearly 40 per cent of its power due to low rainfall, at a cost of USD 240 million. Diversifying the energy mix will mitigate Albania’s exposure to external factors and build stability.

“The Government of Albania recognises the key role of the energy sector in its economic development,” said Belinda Balluku, Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Republic of Albania. “Albania is therefore giving new impetus to energy reforms while consolidating existing efforts to provide enabling conditions for renewable energy development and comply with regional and international commitments. IRENA’s recommendations are highly significant in this process.”

“The energy transition presents significant opportunities for countries to align their post-COVID recovery measures with a path to stable and sustainable long-term growth,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “This report shows that Albania, like many countries, can realise this opportunity. By diversifying their energy mix and integrating more of their variable renewable resources, Albania can create a more stable and resilient energy system, while stimulating positive social and economic outcomes and meeting its climate obligations.”

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