According to news from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Albania’s state-owned hydropower operator Korporata Elektroenergjitike Shqiptare (KESH) has adopted a climate risk management plan, a strategic approach to address the challenges posed by rising temperatures and increasing hydrological variability.
Adoption of the plan is part of the terms of a €218 million loan (US$248.6 million) by the EBRD to KESH to support the company’s restructuring and transformation to a modern electricity generator operating in an electricity market that is being gradually liberalized.
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, EBRD says.
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.
Craig Davies, EBRD Head of Climate Resilience Investment, said: “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.”
With the adoption of the plan, EBRD says, 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 developed under a capacity-building program funded by the Austrian DRIVE fund and implemented by engineering and project management firm Poyry 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.
“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,” said Agron Hetoja, chief executive officer of KESH.