Tirana, 10 May 2012 – A roundtable discussion was organized today in Tirana to launch the draft national renewable energy action plan for Albania and to discuss the legal framework for the promotion of solar water heating. The event organized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy (METE) and UNDP Climate Change Programme brought together energy and environmental experts, representatives from several line ministries and local government authorities, donors, representatives of international organizations, and civil society organizations.
Participants at the event also discussed issues related to: the draft Renewable Energy Sources (RES) law; the draft legal acts to support the SWH systems penetration from the energy and buildings points of view; and the draft RES Target. All these documents are prepared in line with the EU respective directive to fulfill the obligation Albania has as a party to the Energy Community.
Mr. Majlind Lazimi, Director of Cabinet, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy amongst others highlighted: “Albania has taken good steps to implement in its national energy policy the requirements of EU Directives relating to the common rules for the creation and development of the internal energy market and the promotion of the production and consumption of energy from renewable sources. Interest in renewable sources has grown considerably and new plants have started to be constructed – first of all, small hydropower plants as the best-known and available technology, followed by solar water heating systems, while several investors have started to request authorizations for wind turbines as well as.”
Mr. Freddy Austli, UNDP Deputy Country Director, who attended the event, amongst others highlighted: “Having a significant potential of renewable energy sources can serve as driver for investments that will reduce carbon emissions and pollution contributing to transformation into a green economy. The Solar Water Heating is one of the promising technologies in Albania to reduce electricity and fuel wood consumption with a significant contribution towards greenhouse gas emission reduction. Under the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative, Albania country programme aims at accelerating the market development of solar water heating in Albania resulting in greenhouse gas emissions reduction up to 146,000 tons of CO2 per year up to 2020”.
RES development is important because it helps the country fulfill its strategic objectives: secure the energy supply and sustainability. Albania is a special case because its electricity generation is realized in large majority using hydro big and medium sized power plants Also, about 10-13% of the Total Primary Energy Sources (TPES) of the country are provided by biomass, especially fuel wood for fire. However, the country’s reliance on hydropower makes it vulnerable to changes in hydrologic conditions, as witnessed during the last years, and this has reduced dramatically the electricity supply security. On the other hand, Albania has considerable imports of energy which vary – depending on yearly conditions - between 30 and 60% of TPES. Renewable energy can be a solution for reducing this strategic dependence on imports and improve not only security of energy supply but also country’s economic and political macro security by decreasing country’s budget deficit. The development of renewable energy projects attracts foreign investment and generates new jobs for Albania as well.
In the new draft RES law a chapter on promotion of Solar Water Heating Systems is introduced. This chapter establishes a number of measures and incentives including (i) mandatory installation of SWH systems in buildings and the inclusion of such an obligation in the certification of the energy performance of buildings; (ii) minimum technical and efficiency requirements for SWH; (iii) certification of SWH and installers by an accredited body; and (iv) exemption from custom duties and VAT of imported or domestically assembled SWH systems.
The draft RES Action Plan for Albania and other RES legislation to promote solar energy are provided in the frame of the “Country Programme of Albania under the Global Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initaive”, a project implemented by the Albanian Government with the support of UNDP through the Global Environment Facility. It facilitates the installation of 75,000 m2 of new installed collector area over the duration of the project, an annual sale of 20,000 m2 aiming to reach the set target of 520,000 m2 of total installed SWH capacity by 2020. The project also aims to accelerate a sustainable market development of solar water heating in Albania with good quality products and services. Under the estimated business as usual scenario, 184,000 m2 of new solar thermal panels would be installed in Albania by 2020, while in the alternative scenario, new solar thermal installations of 520,000m2 are expected by 2020. The greenhouse gas emissions reduction resulting from this alternative scenario has been estimated at 146,000 tons of CO2 per year in 2020 or at the cumulative amount of over 800,000 tons of CO2 by 2020.
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