Albania’s largest hydropower operator adopts climate risk management plan

By Vanora Bennett

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  • Albania’s state-owned hydropower operator KESH adopts climate risk management plan
  • New approach supported as part of €218 million EBRD loan
  • KESH to become a pioneer hydropower operator in Europe

Albania’s state-owned hydropower operator KESH has become a pioneer hydropower operator with the adoption of its first climate risk management plan, a strategic approach to address the challenges posed by rising temperatures and increasing hydrological variability.

The adoption of the plan is part of the terms of a €218 million loan by the EBRD to Korporata Elektroenergjitike Shqiptare (KESH) to support the company’s restructuring and transformation to a modern electricity generator operating in an electricity market that is being gradually liberalised.

KESH operates a 1,350 MW hydropower cascade on the Drin River. It is facing challenges due to the impact of climate change and climate variability, which will require substantial investment in the near- and mid-term future.

In preparation for this, the climate risk management plan defines a list of structural and non-structural adaptation measures that will be implemented by KESH to mitigate climate-induced risks but also to seize opportunities arising from climate change.

With the adoption of the plan, KESH will become one of the first hydropower operators in Europe to address the risks of climate change and climate variability through a formalized and strategic approach.

The plan was adopted by the KESH supervisory council in Tirana today. It was developed under a capacity-building programme funded by the Austrian DRIVE fund and implemented by engineering and project management firm Pöyry together with the Swiss hydropower operator KWO.

It benefited from a guidance document currently under development on climate resilience for the hydropower sector. Jointly developed with the International Hydropower Association (IHA), the World Bank and EBRD, the guidelines will be presented at the World Hydropower Conference 2019 in Paris.

Agron Hetoja, CEO of KESH, said: “Building know-how in the field of climate resilient hydropower operation is an essential element of our strategy to sustain and further develop our position as a leading electricity generator in the Western Balkan region.”

Craig Davies, EBRD Head of Climate Resilience Investment, added: “We have entered an era where climate risk is real, with extreme events and changes in hydrological patterns increasingly expected. This project exemplifies how hydropower operators can take a first step at the corporate level to identify risks and opportunities to their operations.”

Richard Pinnock, Vice President of Pöyry commented: “Working with KESH and EBRD on this innovative project is also an important milestone for our company, as we clearly see a rising demand for climate adaptation services in the energy sector.”

To date, the EBRD has invested almost €1.3 billion in 82 projects in various sectors of Albania’s economy. Strengthening economic resilience, promoting integration and addressing global and regional challenges are the EBRD’s key priorities.

Pöyry press release

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