Albania hikes electricity imports as hydropower production plunges

Albania hikes electricity imports as hydropower production plunges
Electricity exchange
By bne IntelliNews May 27, 2019

Albanian net power generation plunged to 1,281 GWh in the first quarter of 2019 from 3,213 GWh in the same period last year, the country’s statistics agency INSTAT announced.

Albania relies mostly on hydropower production and favourable weather conditions are essential for the performance of the power plants. As a result of the decrease in power production in the first quarter, gross imports of electricity increased by 7.9 times while gross exports fell by 14.3 times compared to the same period last year.

This is not unusual in Albania, where the dependence on hydropower causes fluctuations in economic performance that the government is trying to address.

In a 2018 interview with bne IntelliNews, the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) office in Tirana, Matteo Colangeli, called the sector’s impact on the economy as a whole “an uncontrollable variable in the macro picture of the country” which, he said, should be addressed with diversification. 

During the first quarter of this year, state-owned hydropower plants contributed 53.6% to overall power generation, while independent hydropower plants realised 46.1% of the net domestic electricity production in the first quarter.

The net output of state-owned hydro plants dropped to 1,277 GWh in the first quarter from 3,123 GWh in the same quarter in 2018.

Independent power producers generated 687.1 GWh of electricity in the period under review, compared to 2,087 GWh a year ago. Private hydro power plants generated 590 GWh of electricity in 1Q19 down from 1,126 GWh a year ago.

The electricity consumption fell by 1.2% y/y in 1Q19 to 2,098 GWh. Consumption by households went up by 2.8% y/y to 1,567 GWh.

Electricity losses totaled 530.8 GWh in the period under review, down by 11.4% y/y. Losses in the distribution network accounted for the bulk, 492.7 GWh.