Albanian Environment Obligation in Framework of EnCT by Dr Lorenc Gordani, 10th June 2017
Energy and environment are two closely interlinked matters. The generation, transmission and consumption of energy raise a number of questions in relation to the protection of environment area. This can mean emissions into the air, water and soil, intensive land use or waste management. With the adaptation of the Energy Community Treaty, the Contracting Parties, in which the Albania is founder, made legally binding commitments to adopt core EU energy legislation.
The so-called “acquis communautaire” or “acquis” actually in force covers:
- Article 4(2) of Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds with deadline with deadline 1 Jul 2006
- Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment with deadline with deadline 1 Jul 2006
- Directive 1999/32/EC of 26 April 1999 relating to a reduction in the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels and amending Directive 93/12/EEC with deadline 31 Dec 2011
- Directive 2001/80/EC of 23 October 2001 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants with deadline 31 Dec 2017
- Directive 2010/75/EU of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) with deadline 1 Jan 2018
In regard of a sector overview in Albania, according to the last report published by Energy Community Secretariat (ECS) on the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, the Law on Environmental Protection of 2011 lays down the basic principles of the procedure. The Laws on Environmental Impact Assessment and on Environmental Permits are in force since February 2013.
In terms of secondary legislation, environmental impact assessment is regulated by the Decision Laying Down Rules, Procedures and Deadlines for Environmental Impact Assessment (2013), the Decision on the Determination of Rules for the Organization and Functioning of the National Environmental Agency of the Regional Environment Agencies (2014) and the Decision on the Approval of Rules, Requirements and Procedures for Informing and Involving the Public in Environmental Decision-Making (2014). The latter Decision contains important provisions on public participation in the environmental impact assessment procedure, in particular by specifying the responsibilities of the National Environmental Agency, the project developer and the local Government related to public participation.
No information on environmental impact assessments related to energy projects during this reporting period was provided to the Secretariat. In total, the environmental impact assessments for six Projects of Energy Community Interest (PECIs) (Wind Park Dajc-Velipoje, 400 kV OHL SS Bitola (MAC) – SS Elbasan (ALB), 400 kV OHL, Tirana (ALB) – Pristina (KOS), the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and the EAGLE LNG Terminal were concluded so far in Albania.
In second regard Sulphur in Fuels Directive, as regards the Sulphur in Fuels Directive, the Decision on the Quality of some Liquid Fuels for Civil and Industrial Thermal Usage and for the Use in Water Transportation Vehicles (sea, river and lakes) transposed the requirements of the Directive into national law.
In third regard Large Combustion Plants Directive, Albania has one combustion plant that falls under the scope of the Large Combustion Plants Directive, the currently non-operational thermal power plant Vlora. The plant is capable of meeting the requirements of the Industrial Emissions Directive. The Law on Environmental Permits adopted in 2011 transposes the requirements of the Large Combustion Plants Directive into national law and the emission limit values are fully aligned with those of the Directive. The Law requires continuous monitoring for plants with a rated thermal input of 100MW or more, which is also in line with the Directive’s requirements.
Amendments to this Law were adopted in June 2014. According to these amendments, a three-level environmental permitting system (type A, B and C) is established based on the size of the installation, its activity and its potential to cause environmental pollution and to threaten human health. All activities referred to in Annex I to the Industrial Emissions Directive, including large combustion plants, belong to type A activities (with the highest potential to cause harm to human health or the environment).
Then, although applicable only to the extent of network energy (i.e. electricity, gas and oil), the environmental acquis in framework of WBs is diverse, complex and paired with substantial financial implications. Bearing in mind the high average age of the plants, low level of maintenance and a lack of significant investment, the implementation of the acquis poses the Contracting Parties a major challenge. Nerveless the Treaty and its acquis evolve constantly to incorporate new sectors as well as update or replace older acts.
This request that the Energy Community Contracting Parties are searching to keep the pace with EU developments and continuously align their regulatory frameworks in the energy and related sectors to those of the EU. The decisions to adopt new acquis and amend existing legal commitments are generally taken by a majority of the votes cast of the Ministerial Council on a proposal of the European Commission. In more, before becoming a member of the Energy Community, the respective country have agreed to implement the acquis. In last limited derogations can be granted in exceptional circumstances.
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