TIRANA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Albania plans to launch a power exchange next January and the government will choose partners to run it alongside the state-owned Transmission System Operator, a government official said on Friday.
Albania’s parliament passed legislation on Thursday paving the way for the government to move ahead with its plans for the exchange and meet a 2018 deadline set under a cooperation agreement with other Balkan countries - known as the Western Balkans Six.
“We are optimistic we’ll have the exchange by January. This is a difficult process,” Entela Cipa, an energy specialist and adviser to the energy minister, told Reuters.
Dependant entirely on hydropower, Albania has been a net power importer since it dumped communism 25 years ago, except for 2016, when it exported for the first time.
Launching the plans for the exchange became possible after state-owned power generation, transmission and distribution monopolies invested more than 300 million euros ($373.05 million) to upgrade their networks and cut losses.
The Albanian Power Exchange will be able to take on as shareholders international energy operators, other transmission operators and also international financial institutions.
Cipa said the exchange will trade day-ahead and intraday products. Nord Pool Consulting is advising on the project.
Albania and neighbouring Kosovo decided last November their transmission operators would own an equal share of the exchange, she said.
“We are open to partnerships because international ones provide guarantees since the bourse of a small country like ours might find it hard to draw high trade volumes,” she added.
Albania is also talking about possible partnerships with Montenegro and Serbia.
Initially, the exchange will work with industrial consumers, which pay unregulated prices and which represent around 10 percent of the power consumed in the country.
Albania usually imports 2 to 2.5 TW of power each year.
Its state-owned monopoly KESh produces from 4.5 to 7 TW in a good year, while private producers generate a total of 1 to 1.3 TW. Norway’s Statkraft has a power plant in Albania which now produce 75 MW a year and will produce 250 MW when its second plant comes online soon. ($1 = 0.8042 euros) (Reporting By Benet Koleka, Editing by Jane Merriman)