ACERC short assessment on energy cooperatives potential in Albania, Dr Lorenc Gordani, 04th September 2017
Energy cooperatives mechanism are taking field in several countries in Western Balkans (WBs). The above is foresee to hold a vital place also in Albania in gathering financing schemes, and assuring a better share of the benefit on the local communities. In theory, the cooperatives are autonomous associations owned, controlled and operated by a group of users for their mutual social, economic and cultural benefit, primarily gathering residents from the local community, municipality, regional or national administrative units.
However, the above is seen in some way with scepticism in Albania by the fact that the term “cooperative” carries a negative connotation, associated with the historical legacy of forced collectivisation along the second half of the 20th century, when under communist rule, cooperatives were a common way of organising social life and business in rural areas.
Today, Albania is at a pivotal moment in deciding on the optimal strategy for achieving its future with reduced carbon emissions, sustainable power sources and efficient use of energy resources. In framework of the Western Balkans (WBs) region – encompassing the European Union (EU) member states – has adopted near-term target of 2020. Further, with other WBs six (WB6) countries, is following with the commitment of the Sustainability Charter on 4 July 2016, Paris, which aim to tap into the high potential for renewable energy generation and efficiency.
Notwithstanding, requirement in upcoming, to align with the EU commitment to 2030, in practice the renewable energy and efficiency development, is still at an early stage. Apart from the large hydropower capacity, mostly constructed several decades ago, renewables have just started to take off, in few Small Hydro Power Plant (SHPP), and medium size Hydro Power Plant (HPP), with many problems showed for the different local communities along their deployment. By other part the implementation of smart efficiency measure is still at the point “zero”. Then it is a need of a drift or a consideration of the entire paradigm of the sustainable sector!
The concept introduced in the late months sometime even by the public authorities, it is in its begin of discussion and there is still early to talk of any consolidate experiences with cooperatives in other fields already occurred in Albania. This is hampered because as explain above the notion of a cooperative is still perceived by many as a relic of the previous regimes.
ACERC was work already in this regard with some attempts in the past. The most distinguish is connected with the project for the “Creation of an Facility Platform on the Improve of the RES Investments Climate in Sustainable Energy”. A project that come in framework of participation in the International Training Program on “Efficient Energy Use and Planning EE2015C” organized by LIFE Academy on behalf of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in Sweden 2015, and regional training phase in Warsaw (Poland), 10 – 21 January 2016.
Then in summary, by first it was seen necessary the overtake of a research assessment to get a general outlook of the regulatory framework. In second the above research activity, has become part in ongoing of presentation in many national and international seminars, workshops and conferences. In third, it is followed with the strengthen of partnership with different stockholder of energy market as well the strengthen cooperation with several experts inside and broader of country.
On above, it can refer to bottlenecks, that as any activity pilot project, even in the above could not be exempted, determined by many external factors in the implementation. Then the difficulties are connected with the delays and the complexity of the regulatory framework that often hinder a clear oversight of the effects and make difficult the judge of the feasible implementation of specific measure taken by public authorities’ actions. The lack of information linked with incapacity of the private and public sector in their structuring, reverse all their consequences on the evaluation of their economic viability.
An “uncertainty” that bearing in mind the multiple external effect on the environment, economy and society in general, will have to enter to a predicted targets and goals set by international commitments such as those related to the EU Policies of 2020 and 2030. Then, a need itself for structured framework change i.e. the creation and further ongoing with an integrate online platform to facilitate who willingness to be involved in renewable energy investments. The online platform, to be developed in framework of Esc Adriatic, that is thought to going to draw new instruments based on successful practices as well as to facilitate the introduction of finance products that effectively respond to the constraints of the market.
Following the above two categories of high potential can be distinguished: first, the possibility to tap the vast cost-competitive potential the production of energy from the renewable, including solar PV, biomass, biogas, electro mobility, wind; and in second the energy efficiency in buildings sector.
Despite some positive developments in Albania, citizen financing schemes are, however, still only the subject of limited public discussion. The scientific community’s knowledge is also insufficient, according to stakeholders. A coordinated support action including access to information, education, training and the design or adaptation of appropriate country-specific business models would be required to further popularise citizen financing schemes. Activities could include the demonstration of good renewable energy investment examples across the region, the establishment of local platforms dedicated to renewable energy investments in Albania and the establishment of more cooperative schemes across the country.
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