Construction begins on three Albania hydro projects

Austrian utility EVN and Norway's Statkraft began construction June 8, 2009, of three hydroelectric plants totaling 340 MW on Albania’s Devoll River.

Albania Prime Minister Sali Berisha participated in ceremonies to begin construction of the three hydro plants, valued at 950 million euros (US$1.37 billion). Called the biggest proposed hydropower project in Europe, the plants are to generate about 1,000 gigawatt-hours annually. (HydroWorld 12/29/08)

Berisha called building the Devoll River complex one of the major events in the history of Albania, both advancing energy and providing thousands of jobs.

Albania's government approved a deal in January between the Energy Ministry and EVN AG, Statkraft AS, and Devoll Hydropower Sha (Holding) as co-owners of the concession to build, operate, and transfer the hydropower projects. EVN and Statkraft each have a 50 percent share in the venture to build three peak-load hydro plants over eight years.

One of the three plants is a partially constructed hydropower station in Banja, which was abandoned at the end of the communist regime. Another plant will be built at Lozhane-Grabove and the third one at Skanderbegas.

The companies have been negotiating a contract with Albania since January, when they won a build-operate-transfer concession for 35 years, or until the project reaches 59,000 GWh, to exploit the whole potential of the Devoll Valley.

A few days earlier, Berisha participated in ground breaking with Austrian utility Verbund and SPV Energji Ashta for construction of the 48-MW Ashta hydropower plant on Albania’s Drin River. (HydroWorld 6/5/09)

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