EU & WBs / Albania Energy Publication Centre

EU & WBs / Albania Energy Publication Centre

Presentation of Albanian Centre for Energy Regulation and Conservation - ACERC

ACERC is a think tank centre with focus in Albania energy market and its integration on 8th Regional Area & EU IEM. The ACERC mission aim to provide a qualified contribution to the promotion of the liberalization and the effective integration as well as the efficient use of energy resources.

ACERC main activities profiles briefly consists in the release reports, articles and periodicals. In cooperation also with collaborates the offering of the activities that support capacity building of market actors, such as national and regional seminars, trainings and conferences. Initiatives completed by advocating in the energy sector promoting a forum called in Albanian School of Regulation.

For more visit us at the Official Website of Acerc | Albanian Energy Market - AEM Group in LinkedIn

Research and Innovation policy in Western Balkans – some recent developments, In Focus - RTI POLICIES IN WBC

AEL Updates August 2015Posted by Adv. Lorenc Gordani, PhD Fri, September 04, 2015 16:37:44

In recent years the Western Balkan countries have made some important efforts to overcome the negative consequences of the economic and political transition and its impact on the region’s research and innovation sectors: They adopted a variety of strategies, laws and programs to improve the performance of the sector on the national level and they improved the regional cooperation in R&D for example by committing themselves to “Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation” and Smart Growth pillar of the “South East European 2020 Strategy” (SEE 2020).

All countries are also associated to Horizon 2020; the preliminary results show some first success stories however overall participation rate is quite low.

WBC also agreed on the establishment of “Western Balkans Research and Innovation Centre” (WISE) by the end of 2015 aiming at strengthening the regional research, innovation and technology systems by providing support, advice, information and recommendations to the states, public and private institutions, non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders.

However, social and political problems are still more pressing in WBC than the low level of R&D investment (Serbia and Montenegro spend on around 1% of GDP on R&D, while other countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP) or support for technology transfer activities.

The importance of the education, research and innovation for the overall success of the EU-integration efforts of the Western Balkans was again confirmed during the 1st Joint Science Conference held on July 15-17, 2015 in Halle and Berlin and during the second Summit Meeting on the Western Balkans held in Vienna on August 27, 2015 – both events in the framework of the Western Balkans Process, also known as the ‘Berlin process'.

Furthermore, the participants of the Vienna Summit clearly recognized that improving the perspective of young generations is of “paramount importance in ensuring stability, sustainable development and progress of the region”. Having in mind the weak economic structure, low level of industrial production, low performance results of the educational systems, high unemployment levels, as well as in some cases the lack of motivation, commitment and trust – to name just few challenges in the region which all had negative impact on human capital development in the WB countries while leading to severe brain drain from the region – it can only be welcomed that political commitment and strong emphasis is put on initiatives related to youth, such as the establishment of the “Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans” or proposal of the European Commission to organize an Enlargement Conference in the first half of 2016 focusing on youth issues.

Another challenge related to young people from the region is the fact that they are often formally well-educated but not necessarily equipped with the right skills needed at the local labor market. Furthermore, the education system in this region does not encourage creativity and entrepreneurial culture among pupils and students at satisfactory level . Specific direct and indirect measures would help to foster entrepreneurial culture in WBC, improve the perspective of young generations and subsequently contribute to long-term knowledge-based economic growth, as suggested by SEE2020 (South East European 2020 Strategy).

Balkan Opinion Barometer”, a set of approximately 80 indicators showing the results of the public opinion survey on crucial economic and development issues in SEE and commissioned by Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) clearly shows that vast majority of interviewees in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia still prefer to work in the public sector (79%), only 16% prefer the employment in the private sector. Interestingly, 40% consider attending additional education / courses to help to find a job as not necessary and for almost 50% their education is not an obstacle in the labour market. Only 6% of interviewees are indeed self-employed (out of 45% of total employed). Asked about two main obstacles to those in the household who do not work to get a job, 63% indicated the lack of jobs while the second obstacle identified was “do not know the right people”. When asked about best ways to contribute to reconciliation in the region, 32% choose increased trade and commerce between the countries, 25% the shared understanding of history while only 6% see regional student exchange programmes as valuable to contribute to reconciliation. It must however been mentioned that only 7% of the interviewees (N=7000) are currently students or pupils, 56% have finished secondary education, and only 30% have high school or university education thus the vast majority is potentially not interested in R&D issues, student mobility and related topics.

Different research studies and papers (e.g. see also country papers andbackground papers related to WBRIS) identified in the recent years quite detailed the major RTDI obstacles and challenges in the region. The policy focus in the years to come should be on implementation of different suggested and already started national and regional initiatives.

It goes without saying that initiatives towards youth mentioned in the conclusions of the Vienna Summit 2015, thus supported by high level experts and policy stakeholders from the region and EU (from strengthening reform efforts of the education systems in order to provide youth with relevant basic and transversal skills, to encouraging mobility of the youth within the region by promoting and enhancing existing programs such as CEEPUS (Central European Exchange Program for University Studies) to supporting the development of a vocational training system in the region and other initiatives mentioned in the text above) are to be seen in this context. Such initiatives are important, even essential measures to support the integration of the region into European Research Area (ERA) and in turn the European Union. Similar conclusions related to importance of the youth and youth policies were drawn by the participants of the 1st Joint Science Conference in Halle and Berlin.

When it comes to the low level of R&D investment in the region (Serbia and Montenegro spend on research and development around 1% of GDP, while other countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP) , the recommendation to allocate 3% of national GDP (reaching the Lisbon agenda target) is desirable, however currently not very realistic as concluded lately by the participants of the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan countries in Budapest in June 2015. As mentioned before, social and political problems are still more pressing in WBC than the low level of R&D investment. On the other hand, it is well known that the availability of data and reliable statistics in the region is another challenge to be met; some researchers even argue that the R&D spending in the region is already higher than the official estimations.

WBRIS (Western Balkan Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation) therefore explicitly suggests generating and systematically updating R&D statistics in line with standard practices established by the Oslo manual and consistent with EURSTAT data, including data related to the scientific diaspora, the Community Innovation Surveys, and other EU indicators as well as to implement a monitoring and evaluation system enabling the assessment of public expenditures in research and innovation. The focus is again on implementation of suggested proposals at local level.

Furthermore, evaluations are one of the most essential tools for evidence-based decision making and especially true for regions characterized by an adoption and adaptation of new RTDI policies, programs and (support) institutions as well as transformation of funding towards competitive schemes . At the same time, however, a lack of methodological and procedural know-how on the part of both evaluators and awarding authorities concerning purpose, design and use of evaluations is evident in WB countries. Based on the research conducted withinEVAL-INNO project (Fostering Evaluation Competencies in Research, Technology and Innovation in the SEE Region), the key challenges for improved RTDI evaluations in the SEE region – which applies also for WBC – include: a) the lack of qualified evaluators for programme, institutional and policy evaluations in the field of RTDI, as well as methodological deficits and weaknesses; b) the lack of knowledge on professional tendering procedures (incl. public procurement laws) to obtain the best evaluation results; c) difficulties in accessing RTDI evaluation information and good practices, and a general lack of the usage of good-practices for RTDI programs, institutions and policy evaluations in the region . Besides trainings organized, EVAL-INNO project also adopted and published in several languages a model of RTDI Evaluation Standards. These were also promoted and disseminated to all relevant stakeholders from policy and academia in WB countries.

Concluding, recent developments related to research and innovation policy – particularly on regional level are positive signals and possible great opportunities for researchers but also young scientists. Very often the scope, effectiveness and impact of good national and even regional R&D initiatives are limited because of a lack of solid political backing, and/or because the relevant political or academic players are not directly involved and/or implementation is hindered by change of government and related change of political priorities.
It is also a good sign that some new initiatives (such as Regional Youth Cooperation Office of the Western Balkans) and some on-going initiatives (such as Steering Platform on Research for Western Balkan countries) have political backing of the current heads of government, foreign ministers and economics ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Croatia, Slovenia, Germany, France, Italy, Austria,, representatives of the European Commission and the European External Action Service and International Financial Institutions.

Initial steps were taken, the next few months and years will show if and how the proposed measures and initiatives will be concretely supported and implemented on the regional, national and local level.

Note: Article is available attached in pdf including fussnotes and sources.

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Publication in “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015”, by Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre/BNEF. 2015, ACERC post 25 August 20115

AEL Updates August 2015Posted by Adv. Lorenc Gordani, PhD Tue, August 25, 2015 09:36:42

Global investment in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydro-electric projects) was $270.2 billion in 2014, nearly 17% higher than the previous year said the in the Key Findings the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015, Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre/BNEF. 2015. This was the first increase for three years, and reflected several influences, including a boom in solar installations in China and Japan, totalling $74.9 billion between those two countries, and a record $18.6 billion of final investment decisions on offshore wind projects in Europe.

The trend last year was, arguably, even more impressive than it would seem from the investment numbers, because a record number capacity of wind and solar photovoltaic power was installed, at about 95GW. This compared to 74GW in 2013, 79GW in 2012 and 70GW in 2011, the only year in which dollar investment was higher than 2014, at $278.8 billion. The main reason why investment last year was below that three years earlier was that technology costs, particularly in solar, have fallen sharply during the intervening period.

A key feature of 2014 was the continuing spread of renewable energy to new markets. Investment in developing countries, at $131.3 billion, was up 36% on the previous year and came the closest ever to overhauling the total for developed economies, at $138.9 billion, up just 3% on the year. Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Turkey were all in the billion-dollar-plus club in 2014 in terms of investment in renewables, and others such as Jordan, Uruguay, Panama, the Philippines and Myanmar were in the $500 million to $1 billion range.

Renewables faced challenges as 2015 began - notably from policy uncertainty in markets such as the US and the UK, retroactive policy changes in countries such as Italy and Romania, and concerns about grid access for small-scale solar in Japan and some US states. The most daunting challenge was, at first sight, the impact of the 50%-plus collapse in the oil price in the second half of last year. However, although the oil price is likely to dampen investor confidence in parts of the sector, such as solar in oil-exporting countries, and biofuels, in most parts of the world, oil and renewables do not compete for power investment dollars. Wind and solar sectors should be able to carry on flourishing, particularly if they continue to cut costs per MWh.

The cost cutting achieved to date helped to ensure strong momentum for both those technologies in 2014. Overall investment in solar was up 29% to $149.6 billion, while that in wind advanced 11% to a record $99.5 billion. Other renewable energy sources mostly did less well, biofuels seeing an 8% fall in investment to $5.1 billion, a 10-year low; biomass and waste-to-energy dropping 10% to $8.4 billion; small hydro slipping 17% to $4.5 billion; and geothermal managing to rise 23% to $2.7 billion.

The biggest locations for renewable energy investment last year were, predictably, the established markets in major economies – with China far out in front at $83.3 billion, a record number and 39% ahead of 2013. In second place came the US, at $38.3 billion, up 7% on the year but still well below its all-time high, reached in 2011. Third came Japan, at $35.7 billion, a tenth higher than in 2013 and its biggest total ever. India was up 14% at $7.4 billion, and Brazil 93% higher, at $7.6 billion.

Investment in Europe advanced less than 1% to $57.5 billion. There were seven billion-dollar-plus financings of offshore wind projects, boosting the investment totals for the Netherlands, the UK and Germany. These included, at the euro equivalent of $3.8 billion, the largest single renewable energy asset finance deal ever, outside large hydro – that of the 600MW Gemini project in Dutch waters.

Renewable energy technologies excluding large hydro made up 48% of the net power capacity added worldwide in 2014, the third successive year in which this figure has been above 40%. New investment in renewable power capacity last year, at $242.5 billion excluding large hydro, was below the gross investment in fossil fuel capacity, at some $289 billion, but far above the figure for net investment in additional fossil fuel capacity, at $132 billion.

Altogether, wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-power, geothermal, small hydro and marine power are estimated to have contributed 9.1% of world electricity generation in 2014, compared to 8.5% in 2013. This would be equivalent to a saving of 1.3 gigatonnes of CO2 taking place as a result of the installed capacity of those renewable sources.

Equity raising by renewable energy companies on public markets, said in the key findigs of the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015, jumped 54% in 2014 to $15.1 billion, helped by the recovery in sector share prices between mid-2012 and March 2014, and by the popularity with investors of US “yieldcos” and their European equivalents, quoted project funds. These vehicles, owning operating-stage wind, solar and other projects, raised a total of $5 billion from stock market investors on both sides of the Atlantic in 2014.

For more find about here above find the here publication of the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015, Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre/BNEF. 2015

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Risks and realizing opportunities that may bring the build-up of all the new hydropower planed in Albania by Dr Lorenc Gordani | Tuesday, August 18, 2015

AEL Updates August 2015Posted by Adv. Lorenc Gordani, PhD Tue, August 18, 2015 21:01:15

Today's industrialized world has become extremely dependent on sustainable energy and demands supply at affordable prices. The world's population is in exponentially increasing and the demand for energy constantly increasing especially in developing countries. In more, the scarcity of fossil fuels is fundamentally responsible for the increased costs. With these concerns in mind, hydroelectricity is a very tempting alternative especially given easy use and apparent lack of carbon dioxide emissions.

Notwithstanding, when the total environmental and social impacts are included, the hydroelectricity might not be an appropriate solution to meet the future energy needs. In Albania, the risks of an immediate and fundamental problem is eminent because the majority of the rural population depends either directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods.

Indeed the Albania’s ecosystem already afford the historically relied in hydropower plants. Nerveless, in the last year GoA has seen as a priority the further investing on hydropower electricity production. In specific, there are given new permission for around 500 new projects. Thus, a heavy reliance of hydropower may be good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality in Albania in general, but it can reverse all the side effect to effect to the local community directly relate with the place.

There are many drawbacks and concerns associated with hydroelectric dams: loss of land, relocation of animals and humans, change in ecosystems, as well as safety. Especially the Hydroelectric dams require large quantities of water, which greatly reduce the liveable land for both humans and animals. Then a sound policy must determine whether or not it would make sense to build hydroelectric dams and all possible factors, not necessarily limited to the above mentioned examples must be considered.

In regard, the Environment and Social Management Plan (ESMP) normally comprise all social and environmental mitigation measures. The ESMP outlines DHP’s commitments to the environment and Project Affected Households/Persons (PAP and PAHs) in relation to mitigating project impacts and promoting project development opportunities. The Plan summarize impacts, outlines policy and other overarching issues, and provides a general framework for resettlement, livelihood restoration, regional development and environmental initiatives.

The alternative of what here above are multiple and of course the calculation include a multiple and complex effect. Normally they have to base in the so-called Analysis of the Cost Benefit (CBA). Regard the Albania they first of all have to go from the benefit of the distribution generation for renewable energy which include: wind; solar; geothermal and biomass and biogas energies. A great potential stand also in the efficiency and the side demand management (SDM).

In same time, in the last years, the country has been involved by in the process of build-up interconnection: a process to be completed within 2 or 3 next years. An electrical interconnection line with Kosovo is already in work and another with Macedonia will be ready the next year. Not far away seem also the one with Italy or the country can already in that between Montenegro and Italy when it will be ready. These interconnection can be seen as a possibility to slow down the build of new generation capacity (mainly in hydro) but also an incentive for the accelerate the plans for the new hydroelectric power plants. The establishment of TAP project is also a momentum for Albania since it is also completed with a master plan for the gasification of the country.

Therefore, a research and following related activity will aim to offer options about the risks and realizing opportunities that will bring the build-up of all the new hydropower planed. In one hand to demonstrate, the other solutions that increase resilience to future environment change and related effect to the local community (even keeping a limit greenhouse gas emissions for all the country), on the other hand what the above project would offer for the ongoing development of sector and economy of the country. The goal of the research should help the country mainstream to adapt the changes in policies programs and investments.

The here communication came within the framework of the international project on Adapting to Climate Change, developed as a local partner by the ACERC. In cases of interest to the directly cooperation as author with analyses or for any kind of involvement or support as well as a partner, contact us at the For more keep update with the EU & WBs / Albania Energy Investments Updates or visit the Official Page of ACERC.

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