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Tuesday, September 01, 2009
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Albania to Build Major Wind Farm

ALBANIA - Albania is to host what is expected to become Europe's biggest onshore wind farm when it is completed, according to plans announced by the Italian Moncada construction company.

The project, which has already been approved by the Albanian government, will have a total generating capacity of 500 megawatts. Europe's biggest onshore wind farm, currently under construction in Scotland, will have a generating capacity of 322 MW.

According to Reve, it will also includes the construction of a transmission line between the Italian city of Brindisi and the Albanian port of Vlora. The 400 kV power cable, stretching 145 km across the Otranto channel under the Adriatic Sea at a depth of over 900 metres, will allow for electricity to be transmitted in either direction between the two countries.

The wind farm is expected to be located on the Karaburun peninsula close to the city of Vlora, a former military installation, off limits to the public, during Albania’s communist regime. Moncada Costruzioni is Italy’s fifth largest producer of electricity through wind farms.

Another major Italian green energy investment was presented to Albania’s government, by the Marseglia Group, which is seeking permission to build a wind farm in northern Albania. The total generating capacity of these two projects is expected to be over 410 MW, with an investment value of €400 million.

Almost all of Albania's domestically-produced electricity is generated by hydro-power plants, which are badly affected by droughts, but even when rain is plentiful, the obsolete distribution grid causes major problems.

Electricity generation in Albania is dominated by large hydroelectric facilities, contributing to over 85 per cent of total electric capacity. Although Albania has been a net exporter of electricity in the past, over the last 5 or 6 years the country has relied on imports. There is a state-wide effort to reduce electricity shortages and excessive demand by implementing strong penalties against theft and defaults by consumers.

In general, renewable energy, or wind energy, data for Albania is limited. At this time there have been no regulatory incentives identified for the development of renewable energy projects. Due to in-country know-how and available resources, hydro appears to be the most promising resource for renewable energy project development. There is however, a concern to increase reliability in dry years when hydro power output is significantly reduced. Privatization seems to be the main driver behind small hydro rehabilitation and development.

Although Albania is in a somewhat favorable climate for solar development, it does not seem likely that there will be an emphasis on solar development in the near future due to its relatively high costs. There are numerous locations of low to medium enthalpy geothermal wells identified in Albania, but there are no known high enthalpy locations identified for electricity production. Sufficient wind data is not available to estimate the technical potential of wind energy, and the low electricity rates seem to hinder the economical development of wind energy. Incentives and interest in biomass renewable energy projects seems low at this point, although a significant technical potential was identified (17.5 TWh/yr thermal), perhaps enough for 600 MW of power generating capacity.

The Moncada Energy Group has invested substantial resources to further its own activity in the wind energy sector. At the present time the Company has numerous projects which will assure considerable development within the next five years. Moncada Energy Group by way of its three company division owns five fully operational wind farms , situated in the district of Agrigento and having a total installed power of 105,3 MW. The Enpower 3 a part of Moncada Energy Group has begun work on a wind farm in the locality of Cattolica Eraclea (AG) with a power capacity of 40 MW. The farm will enter into production in the first half of 2010.

M & A Rinnovabili a part of Moncada Energy Group has purchased a project for a wind farm called Rocca Rossa on which work is about to start , it is situated in Cammarata (AG), Vallelunga (CL) and Castronovo di Sicilia (PA) and will have an overall power of 58 MW. This project will be integrated with a second project , which at the moment is awaiting authorization, in the adjacent territory of Lercara Friddi and therefore form a plant of 122 MW 61 wind turbine generators will be installed. The first section of the plant will be operative mid 2010.

Within 2012 it is also expected to begin work on four more on shore plants and one off shore plant in partnership with Enel Production Spa in the Sicilian Channel for an overall installed power equal to 780 MW.

The Group has developed a project to build the biggest wind farm ever in Albania. The overall power produced, equal to 500 MW will be obtained by the installation of 250 wind turbines of 2 MW each.

This plant is situated in the Valona Region: one part on the Karaburun Penisula ( 60 wind turbines with a power of 120 MW) one part on Mounts Kanalit (60 wind turbines with a further power of 120 MW) and a part on Mounts Lungara (130 wind turbines with of 260 MW).

The electrical infrastructures built for this plant will be of dimensions never seen before on a wind farm in Europe (three electrical substations 220 KW equipped with eight transformers of 70 MVA and thirty Km lines 220 KV) as will be the access infrastructures (more than 70 KM of roads to be built).

This project was presented, at the beginning of 2007 to the Albanian Authorities, reports Reve. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Energy were present. The proposal was widely approved and publicised by the Media.

The plant has obtained all the necessary authorization required by the current laws of Albania. In December 2008 the legal representative of the company and the Albanian Minister for Energy signed an agreement in the presence of the Prime Ministers of both countries. Anemometers have been installed to allow a correct mapping of the wind. Work is expected to being in the first half of 2009.

In Romania due diligence procedures are under way for the purchase of a company owning three farm projects, overall power 240 MW of which 86MW are already operational. The company is also considering an agreement to produce a further 500 MW wind energy. Contact has been made with the local authorities regarding attachment procedures.

In Bulgaria due diligence procedures are being taken into consideration for the purchase of two wind farms total installed power 150 MW and the possibility of a biomass power plant . A solar power plant 47 MW is also being taken into account by the Group.

A project for the construction of a wind farm of 500 MW in Tunisia will be presented in the second half of 2009.

The group has a project for the construction of a wind farm 30 MW in Mozambique.

TheBioenergySite News Desk


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