Mountainous Albania, in Europe's Western Balkans region, is home to eight major river systems. The country is almost totally dependent on hydropower for electricity supply.
The Drin river, located in northern Albania, is the largest river in the country and hosts the Fierzë (500 MW), Komani (600 MW) and Vau I Dejës (250 MW) hydropower stations. This cascade provides around three-quarters of the country’s total electricity capacity and 90 per cent of domestic electricity production.
Albania was once a net exporter of electricity, but it has been forced to import power due to rising demand and a stagnation of new capacity installations since the transition from a centrally planned economy to an open market in the late 1980s. This has led in the past to power shortages during dry periods, and even blackouts during prolonged droughts.
Energy demand is expected to increase and there is a clear need for Albania to strengthen its energy security. While efforts to develop new thermal, wind and solar capacity are ongoing, hydropower remains the nation’s largest energy resource.
Estimates show that only about a third of Albania’s hydropower potential has been developed so far.
Most of the new capacity installations are aimed at strengthening power supply to the south of the country.
One major project is the Devoll River cascade, which will consist of two hydropower stations, Banja and Moglicë. With a total installed capacity of 256 MW, these two stations are expected to produce around 730 GWh each year, increasing Albania’s electricity production by nearly 17 per cent.
Read our detailed country profile in the 2015 Hydropower Status Report.