Albania to develop solar PV but can it show transparency?

Albania has called for bids to build the Adriatic country’s first solar power station, telling investors it would favor whoever committed to ramping up capacity and selling power more cheaply to its distributor..

With more than 90 percent of Albania’s power being produced from hydropower and a newly built power plant not functioning, the Socialist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama seeks to install 120 MW of solar and 70 MW of wind power capacity by 2020.

Albania expects an investment of around 70 million euros.

Under the bidding rules any company meeting the technical and financial criteria will be awarded 70 points.

The remaining 30 points, which will most likely decide the outcome, will be given to the company choosing to sell at a cheaper rate to the Operatori i Shpërndarjes së Energjisë Elektrike (OSSHE), Albanian power distributor monopoly, securing a guaranteed buyer for the first half of the renewable 30-year-deal.

It would also give points to whichever bidder commits to adding 20-50 MW to the original 50 MW capacity of the photovoltaic panels. Power from the extra capacity would be sold freely.

The salty lands at Akernia near the Adriatic seaport of Vlore have been chosen as the location of the plant because it has the highest potential solar power efficiency.

Its potential solar power output is estimated at more than 1,600 KW hours per square meter.

Albanian Energy Ministry offered take questions before August 24, and to meet a team of three of any interested parties at its premises on August 27 and give them a tour of the site.

Representatives of Energy Ministry will answer questions until the end of August 2018.

However, as stated in GAN report, many potential bidders who woudl otherwise be perfectly eligible, face the omnipresent issue of corruption, rampant in Albania and known well to procurement and construction sectors which are particularly affected by patronage networks and other forms of corruption.

Although Albania does have a legal anti-corruption framework in place, yet frequent amendments subject to conflicting interpretations have undermined the legal certainty of the laws. Furthermore, the government does not implement these laws effectively.

Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 91st place out of 180 countries with score 38. (39 in 2016, 36 in 2015, 33 in 2014 and 31 in 2013).

With the new tenders Albania once again has a chance to show it is able to tackle its own internal issues. It will be interesting to see what parties will be attracted by the tenders and how the projects will be deployed.

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