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Mon August 02 2021

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Bechtel signs for Albanian hydro project

6 Jul Bechtel has signed a contract with the Albanian government to begin work on a hydro project that is designed to increase the country’s energy independence.

Bechtel's Andrew Patterson (seated left) and KESH's Ergys Verdho (seated right) signed the contract
Bechtel's Andrew Patterson (seated left) and KESH's Ergys Verdho (seated right) signed the contract

Albania’s Power Corporation (KESH) and Bechtel signed an agreement to begin the early works for the 210 MW Skavica plant on the Drin River.

The work will be carried out under a fast-track delivery approach. Work will begin immediately with a technical investigation, preliminary construction access roads and the environmental and social impact assessment needed to expedite the start of construction.

Bechtel major project development manager Andrew Patterson said: “We recognise that this is a nationally important project and we look forward to working with KESH as partner, and engaging local companies, supply chains and local people to achieve the immediate and long-term economic benefits which come with infrastructure of this size and scale.”

Skavica will be located upstream of the Drin cascade, which is home to four hydro power plants. The combination of these existing projects currently produces the largest energy production in the Balkans, with a combined power output of 1,350MW. Skavica will increase the cascade’s output and bring additional safety and environmental benefits. As a regulating dam, it will give greater protection against the devastating floods that impact the downstream communities each year.

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Belinda Balluku, the Albania government’s minister of infrastructure and energy, said: “Skavica is different from the other hydropower plants in the Drin Cascade because it will regulate the plants which already exist. It will also increase the domestic production of electricity by hydropower plants in Albania by 20%, while also optimising and increasing their production capacities.

“Another important element of this project is the minimisation of floods in the area of Nen Shkodra by optimising the cascade and controlling all flow and discharges during rainfall from autumn to spring.”

Ergys Verdho, KESH CEO general, said: “Skavica is a much-anticipated dream; one that we have had since the design of the Drini River Cascade in the 1970s. This project will transform Albania not only into an absolute leader in the regional electrical power sector but also into an electrical power exporter.”

KESH said that the development of Skavica will reduce Albania’s annual electricity imports by an average of 55% annually, increasing the security of the country’s electricity supply.

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