Statkraft has officially opened the 73MW Banja hydropower plant in the Albania, the first of two plants which make up the 256MW Devoll hydropower project.

The power plant was opened on Friday (23 September) by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Statkraft CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, together with Albanian Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri and Norway’s Ambassador designate, Per Sjaastad.

"This investment is a great example of the private interest and the public interest meeting at the same point. In this area alone, over 100 km of roads have been built, with some great engineering efficiency. Banja-Gramsh road has 14 bridges and one of the bridges, 520m long, is the second-longest bridge in Albania. Statkraft is an example to be followed by all other companies investing in Albania," Prime Minister Rama said at the opening ceremony.

In his speech, CEO Rynning-Tønnesen praised Albania for developing renewable and climate friendly hydropower, and also underlined the importance of completing the market reforms, deregulation and the creation of a power exchange in the country.

Banja hydropower plant will generate around 255GWh of renewable electricity per year. The plant consists of two main units, as well as an eco-flow unit which can utilise even minimum flow for renewable power production. The dam above the power plant is 80m high and creates a 14km2 reservoir.

In addition to the dam, the power station and the transmission line, the construction also includes new roads, and measures linked to following up the social and environmental aspects of the project.

In total, the Devoll-project will have an installed capacity of 256MW, increasing the power generating capacity of Albania by 17%.

The construction of the second plant – the 183MW Moglice hydropower plant – is ongoing, with commercial operation planned in 2018. Even this part of the project reached a major milestone this week, as the river was diverted from the dam site, making it possible to start dam construction.

The total investment of the Devoll project is estimated to approximately EUR 500 million.