/2nd October 2017, RENEWABLE MARKET WATCHTM/ Statkraft officially opened the 73MW Banja hydropower project in Albania, which is the first of the two power plants being constructed as part of the 256MW Devoll hydropower project. The power plant, which is located 65 kilometres southeast of the capital Tirana, was officially opened by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, together with Albanian Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri and Norway’s Ambassador-designate, Per Sjaastad.

"This investment is a great example of the private interest and the public interest meeting at the same point. In this area alone, over 100 km of roads have been built, with some great engineering efficiency. Banja-Gramsh road has 14 bridges and one of the bridges, 520 metres long, is the second-longest bridge in Albania. Statkraft is an example to be followed by all other companies investing in Albania," Prime Minister Rama said at the opening ceremony.

In his speech, CEO Rynning-Tønnesen praised Albania for developing renewable and climate-friendly hydropower, and also underlined the importance of completing the market reforms, deregulation and the creation of a power exchange in the country.

Banja hydropower plant will generate around 255 GWh renewable electricity per year. The plant consists of two main units and an eco-flow unit utilising even the minimum flow for renewable power production. The dam above the power plant is 80 metres high and creates a 14 square kilometres reservoir, in the form of a new lake in the beautiful Devoll valley.

In addition to the dam, the power station, and the transmission line, the construction also includes new roads and measures linked to following up the project's social and environmental aspects. Based on international standards, Statkraft is committed to ensuring that all affected parties are as well or better off after the project than before. Hence, the project has also contributed to new houses, school, new agricultural activities, afforestation, garbage- and sewage treatment facilities.

In total, the Devoll-project will have an installed capacity of 256 MW, increasing the power generating capacity of Albania by 17 percent.

The Moglice (183 MW) hydropower plant's construction is ongoing, planned for commercial operation in 2018. Even this part of the project reached a major milestone this week, as the river was diverted from the dam site, making it possible to start dam construction.

The total investment of the Devoll project is estimated to approximately EUR 500m.

More information about Albanian hydro power market you may read here: Western Balkans Hydro Power Market: Outlook 2016÷2025

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