Tirana, Albania, September 30, 2008—The
government of Albania and Verbund, Austria’s largest electricity company,
today signed a concession agreement to develop Ashta Hydropower, a new
plant that will contribute to Albania’s power generation capacity, helping
reduce dependence on imports and decrease blackouts. IFC, a member of the
World Bank Group, advised the government on structuring and implementing
the public-private partnership project.
Genc Ruli, Albania’s Minister of Economy,
Trade, and Energy, and Christian Kern, a member of Verbund’s Managing
Board, signed the agreement, which covers the financing, construction,
and operation of the hydropower plant.
In July 2008, Verbund was selected as
the project’s winning bidder over a consortium led by Belgium’s Electrabel.
The plant will be constructed over 40 months and have an installed capacity
of 48.2 megawatts. The total investment amount is estimated at more than
Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of Albania,
said that “the bidding process was conducted according to international
best practice, with consideration for the ecological and social implications
associated with the project. By selecting Verbund, we are bringing the
latest technology and best environmental practices for the benefit of the
Ruli said, “We are very satisfied with
our cooperation with IFC, and Albania welcomes the concession’s design-build-operate-transfer
model. Introducing public-private partnerships will greatly benefit the
Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern
Europe and Central Asia, said, “The Ashta energy project is part of a
broader cooperation between IFC and the Albanian government. It builds
on our previous work helping the government draft the new concession law
and establish a public-private partnership unit. This concession agreement
with Verbund is a pivotal step in improving the economic and social well-being
of Albania and its citizens. It has been a pleasure working with the government.”
This effort was led by IFC’s Infrastructure
Advisory Services for Southeast Europe, which helps public authorities
introduce private-sector participation in infrastructure services in the
region. The program is jointly funded by the governments of Austria, Italy,
the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the United States.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous
year. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Verbund (Österreichische Elektrizitätswirtschafts-AG),
Austria’s largest electricity company, is one of the leading hydropower
groups in Europe and one of the most profitable energy utilities in the
region. It is also Austria’s largest electricity transporter and a driving
force for clean energy in Europe. The company owns 107 hydropower plants
and nine thermal power plants. For more information, visit www.verbund.at.