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Hydropower dam in Albania gets PV plant, new RES capacities to be added

Hydropower plant Vau i Dejës will be turned into an integrated energy production hub, Albania’s Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku said after a solar power plant was finished at the reservoir’s dam. She pointed to the plan to add a floating solar power plant and revealed the hybrid system is envisaged to be further boosted with a wind power plant.

Built in 1973, Vau i Dejës is one of the oldest hydropower plants in Albania, which is almost 100% dependent on the technology for its electricity. Within the efforts to diversify energy sources, state-owned utility KESH decided to add solar and wind power to the facility and make it a hybrid power plant.

The first step is finished as a solar power plant was completed at Qyrsaqi, one of the three dams at the reservoir, state news agency ATA reported. The project envisaged the installation of 5.1 MW in capacity and an annual output of 7 GWh.

EBRD financing floating photovoltaic project

Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku said an integrated energy production hub would be developed at the site, pointing to a plan to build a 12.9 MW floating photovoltaic system at the lake. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said in April that it approved a EUR 9.1 million loan for the EUR 14 million project, unveiled in 2018. Balluku also revealed the ambition to add a wind power plant.

Photovoltaic panels are planned to be installed at another of the three dams and on the buildings at the hydropower plant

Vau i Dejës is located in Albania’s northwest and has a capacity of 250 MW. Administrator of KESH Ergys Verdho said photovoltaic panels would be installed also at the Zadeja dam and on the buildings at the hydropower plant.

Minister Balluku asserted that despite the effects of the energy crisis there would be no increase in the price of electricity for households and small businesses.

Vau i Dejës set to become world’s most complex hybrid power plant

Cengiz Enerji said last month that it started collecting wind data in the vicinity of its giant hydro-solar power plant Lower Kaleköy in eastern Turkey and that it would be the world’s first hybrid power plant with three electricity sources. KESH is now planning to go one step further by combining ground-mounted solar panels with floating ones.

Wind and solar power are particularly compatible – hybrid projects have become popular with the expansion of renewables

Hybrid power plants bring savings in grid and storage costs for the investor, as integrated management enables the operator to provide a steadier supply to its clients. The emerging technology got a boost with the development of renewable energy. Hydropower plants usually have space for significant photovoltaic facilities.

Combining wind and solar is particularly effective, as wind turbines produce electricity at night, when there is no sun, and in wintertime, when solar output is weaker. Power plants become hybrid also when they add batteries or hydrogen-based systems. There are also examples of complementing renewable energy with facilities that run on gas or other fossil fuels.

Projects springing up across Balkans for expanding hydroelectric plants with solar power

Norwegian green energy company Statkraft has installed the first floating solar power plant in Albania earlier this year, on the reservoir of its Banja hydropower plant. EPCG in neighboring Montenegro is preparing to build solar power plants at the dams at its Perućica hydropower plant and a floating photovoltaic system on the lake.

Similar projects are underway in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and Romania.

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