Albania has ‘Significant’ Potential for Wind, Solar and Geothermal Says IRENA Report

The Albanian government tasked International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to conduct a Renewables Readiness Assessment as it works towards boosting renewable energy development

Fierzë Hydroelectric Power Station on the River Drin, Albania

Fierzë Hydroelectric Power Station on the River Drin, Albania, Credit: Wikipedia, Tobias Klenze, CC-BY-SA 4.0

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a report stating that Albania has considerable potential for solar energy, wind and geothermal energy production. The report comes just as the country has launched its first few solar power projects in an effort to move away from hydropower. Albania draws almost 95% of its energy from hydropower currently.

According to IRENA, Albania has the potential to deploy an estimated 2,378MW of solar power and produce up to 3,706GWh of the same every year. The country enjoys an exceptionally high rate of solar insolation at over 1,500 kWh/square metres annually. In addition to this, it receives the highest number of sunshine hours each year.

The country also enjoys ideal conditions for wind energy production. The wind blows in Albania at the rate of 3.3 to 9.6 metres per second. In a low-cost capital scenario, IRENA reports that Albania has a cost-competitive wind potential of 7,400MW. The Albanian government has recently recognized their potential for wind energy generation and towards this, have introduced a wind feed-in tariff support scheme. The scheme has been immensely popular: since its introduction, the government has received 70 applications for constructing wind farms, of which 3 (with a capacity of up to 3MW) have been authorised for construction.

The Albanian government had commissioned the IRENA to conduct a Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) to support its efforts to accelerate development of renewable energy. Albania has witnessed internal debates as it works towards complying with its regional and international commitments. Albania’s Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Belinda Balluku wrote in a foreword to the report: “The RRA findings come at the right time to help us establish a clear strategic roadmap for renewables in Albania. While the market has witnessed considerable advances in recent years, we are now more determined than ever to step up the investments that will shape our energy future,” commented in a foreword to the report. By the end of this decade, the Albanian government’s National Energy Sector Strategy has committed to pushing up the share of renewable energy to 42%.