By Gjergj Erebara / BIRN
After the tender in which only the company that won the government’s questionable bonus took part, the Ministry of Energy announced the Turkish company as the winner for the hydroelectric plant on the Vjos River, the second largest hydropower concession.
Without fanfare and without pride, in a corner of its website, the Ministry of Energy and Industry announced the result of the tender for the Pocem hydropower plant, one of the largest concessions granted in the electricity sector in recent years.
“The commission for awarding a concession for the construction, use and transfer to the Contracting Authority of the hydropower plant “Pocem” has concluded the competition procedure by announcing the winner of the merger of two Turkish companies “Ayen Enerji Anonim Şirketi” and “Çinar-San Hafriyat Nakliyat Inşaat Turizm San Ve Tic Ltd.Şti”, says the notice published in the ‘other publications’ section of the website of the Ministry of Energy.
“At the end of the evaluation, the Commission classified the Temporary Union of the Companies “Çinar-San Hafriyat Nakliyat Inşaat Turizm San Ve Tic Ltd.Şti” and “Ayen Enerji Anonim Şirketi” as a single offer and declared it the winner of the competitive procedure. the announcement follows.
The Pocem Hydropower Plant is one of the many hydropower plants designed during the communist era to be built on the cascade of the Vjosa River in Southern Albania. The current government gave a bonus to the Turkish company as an unsolicited concession, while critics argued that giving the bonus is not justified because the hydropower project exists and that the correct practice is to open the tender without bonus to any interested company. Meanwhile, a group of environmentalists oppose the granting of the concession with the argument that the Vjosa River carries great environmental values and can bring income through the development of tourism. The Albanian government has responded to the concerns of environmentalists by arguing that only two hydropower plants will be built in Vjosa, that of Pocem and that of Kalivaç, while the rest of the cascade will be declared a national park, although the national park has not been declared yet.
The government formally opened the tender in March after advertising the possibility of participation in the international media, but because the Turkish company had received a bonus of 8 points, no other company expressed interest.
The Pocem hydropower plant is expected to have an installed capacity of 99.5 MW, according to the proposal of the concessionaire company, and an annual production of about 305 million kWh. If built, Poçemi will become the second largest hydropower plant granted a concession in terms of production level after the Devolli project. The commercial value of the energy produced by Poçemi can reach 15 million euros per year at a price of 5 cents per kWh. According to the Turkish company that won the concession, the construction of this hydropower plant will cost around 101 million euros, an investment that with the current prices of electricity in the private market can be recovered within 7-10 years of the 35 years that is the duration of the concession.