Famed for its “gold rush” on the rivers, and racked by managing problems Albania’s energy sector is up for a revival. One that goes from head to toe, sparing no expenses. 500 million Euros, is the investment that will be made for the upcoming 4 years in the energy sector.

On the basis of energy recovery strategy in a bid to liberalize the energy market in the country and minimize the losses in distribution network by reducing the informality. Of all Albania’s economic sectors, energy is among those where the issue of investments is the most urgent.

A sound and reliable energy supply is vital for Albanian society. As well as reliable, it must also be affordable and sustainable as the energy sector in Albania has always faced serious difficulties in supplying its consumers with electricity because around 42% of the country’s electricity supplies are lost in distribution, often due to theft from electricity lines.

The Achilles tendon is the recovery of the energy sector, for which the Albanian Government has invested about 110 million Euros, as a fund borrowed from the World Bank. On the big pot of 500 million Euros dedicated to energy, other tangible investments will focus on the deployment of smart meters and reconstruction of electric substations.

National energy strategy also foresees the establishment of transmission lines with Kosovo and Macedonia. The first line is expected to be completed in the spring of next year, while this period is expected to develop the tender procedures for the second transmission line in Macedonia. Its favorable geographic position on the Mediterranean Sea, makes Albania a country of great potential to invest with significant renewable resources, as this is a sector that offers high profits.

The Minister of Energy, Damian Gjinkuri simbolically signing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, whcih will pass through Albania, being one of the most energy projects of the country.

And that explains the “gold rush” on our rivers where investor want to build hydropower’s. According to a newly report by the Energy Regulatory Agency for 2014, it shows that new small hydropower plants and the privatization of several medium-sized hydropower plants have increased private sector electricity production in Albania to almost a fifth of total production, with the electricity production market now worth 8.1 billion lek (about 58 million Euros).

Dozens of other private hydropower plants are under construction and are expected to join the grid over the next few years. In an interview of a few months ago for the Guardian, Albania’s prime minister Edi Rama, noted the unprecedented interest in hydropower’s. He said that in his first six months in office, “I didn’t pass one day at work without someone calling or emailing me from Albania, Europe, or America, with this line: ‘We are interested in a hydropower plant development’.”

The interest in this sector is high and with the liberalization of the energy market, the growing demand for sustainable energy will offer many opportunities for the energy sector and with it will sprang open the doors to investors Such as in the case of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, as well as the completion of three hydropower plants on the Devoll River.

The implementations of these important projects are expected to bring an investment value of 1.8 billion Euros, by giving a boost to the Albanian economy by also increasing employment.

The Need for Energy Security

Energy security is a topic of growing concern to many EU countries and the Western Balkans. To meet the growing aspirations of the people and economies of Western Balkans, each of the countries are under immense social and political pressure to secure reliable, sustainable, and reasonably priced energy supplies to meet the ever-increasing demand for commercial energy.

A regional approach facilitates a more comprehensive, cost- effective, and sustainable set of solutions to the challenges of energy security. In response to these emerging energy realities, USAID has launched a new program to support regional energy security and market transparency for energy regulators from Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine for. During the program (2015-16), the regulators will be supported in the preparation of guidelines promoting best practices in the operation of retail electricity markets.

This new program also provides regional regulators with a collaborative environment where U.S. regulators are available to provide the benefits of their experiences in electricity market development. AgroWeb.org