Energy Week Western Balkans 2022
The event brings together authorities and energy companies from Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo as well as international financial institutions and major multinational investors, EPC and consultancy firms for a dialogue aimed at fostering the deployment of renewable energy in the region and attracting foreign direct investment.
One of many things the Western Balkan’s countries have in common is the enormous solar energy potential and the fact that it is almost untapped yet. Two solar projects (100 and 140 MW) were awarded to a renewable energy developer in Albania in 2021. The Serbian government is in talks to sign a contract with the US-based company to develop 1 GW of solar power projects across the country. One of the biggest projects of North Macedonia contracted lately is that of two PV plants (100 MW) at the former TPP Oslomej coal mine. The 262 MW Briska Gora PV plant project development is in full swing in Montenegro. The Ministry of Energy and Mining of the Republic of Srpska (BiH) announced the works on ERS’s solar power plant Trebinje 1 (73 MW) could start in the spring and that two more of 55 MW each, are planned in the same locality. The Government of Kosovo signed an agreement with IFC in 2021 to support the development of a 50 MW Solar PV Power Plant.
The opportunities for deployment of wind energy are extensive in the Western Balkans. Serbia alone has over 2.7 GW of wind energy projects in the pipeline; a 300 MW Vetrozelena wind farm project is developing in full swing among others. Albania has launched its first tender for utility-scale onshore wind power plants this year. The Government of North Macedonia has given the green light to a German wind developer for the 415 MW Virovi wind farm. Chinese investors are planning to start the construction of the 84 MW Ivonik wind farm in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereas representatives of a German wind developer presented the propositions and projects for the construction of future wind farms with a total capacity of 1.07 GW to the prime minister. The construction of the 102.6 MW Selac wind farm in Kosovo’s Mitrovica municipality, a project worth 170 million euros in which the main investor is an Israeli renewable energy company, was completed this year.
The Western Balkans has the largest remaining unexploited hydropower potential in Europe. And although there have been some breaks, the hydropower boom is very much ongoing with both big and small projects being in various phases of development around the region. Albania’s Power Corporation (KESH) signed an agreement this year to begin the early works for the 210 MW Skavica HPP on the Drin river. In Serbia, investments in new large-scale HPPs include the construction of pumped storage hydropower plants Đerdap 3 (2,400 MW)and Bistrica (680 MW). In North Macedonia, nine bidders have been selected in the first phase of the international call for the construction of the 333 MW Chebren HPP and moved on to technical negotiations before submitting their final bids, expected in January 2022. State-owned power utilities Elektroprivreda Crne Gore (EPCG) and Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) are in talks over joint construction of the 155 MW Komarnica HPP in Montenegro.