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Albania, Kosovo Ministers Discuss Energy Network Integration

May 17, 2008 - BBC Monitoring European

It has been said for a long time that Albania and Kosovo should integrate their energy networks to ensure that the get abundant supplies of energy at a low price. Economy and Trade Minister Genc Ruli declared once again during a meeting with four Kosovo ministers that Albania was preparing to build a new inter-connection line with Kosovo and that the production of energy from Albania's hydropower stations would be well balanced with the production from Kosovo's power stations.

"Minister Ruli and Shiroka, his counterpart, stressed the cooperation in the field of energy. The two ministers noted that the Albanian and Kosovo electricity systems are complement each other very well," they said in an official statement.

Nevertheless, even though cooperation is theoretically profitable and possible, from an economic point of view, it seems that the two countries are still far from this and that their financial capacities are still very weak. Albania might increase its production by 60 per cent from its existing capacities if it finds a reliable energy source and the coal power stations in Kosovo seem to be the closest source. However, for now the two countries are net importers of electricity. Meanwhile, Albania has proved that it is not capable of planning the rapid, secure development of this sector.

Kosovo has few production capacities and, besides, they are rather out of date. According to KEK [Kosovo Energy Corporation] analyses, the country needs 1.5 billion euros for urgent investments only to keep the current system afloat. A few days ago, a defect in Kosovo B power station led to a 50 per cent cut in the energy production and, consequently, to a considerable reduction in the power supply.

According to the Albanian specialists, there are two main ways to improve the situation: the construction of the TEC [power stations] and the inter-connection lines, and the construction of the pipelines supplying gas. They said that Elbasan-Tirana-Vau i Dejes inter-connection line, which will supply energy in both directions, would have its branches extending to Podgorica and Pristina and that this would play an important role in reducing the country's costs to buy energy.

Originally published by Shekulli, Tirana, in Albanian 16 May 08, p4.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring European. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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