Priorities of the Albanian Presidency for the year 2023
- Accelerated development of the energy infrastructure should follow other energy transition activities in the Contracting Parties to create climate-neutral, sustainable, technologically advanced and competitive energy systems, thus mitigating climate change threats and creating opportunities for economies to develop under the new circumstances. When produced by renewable energy sources like wind, sun, hydro etc., electricity is considered the most viable option to replace energy sources that emit greenhouse gases. Alongside renewables, measures boosting energy efficiency, technological development and system flexibility will play a key role in ensuring a climate-neutral energy supply. Electricity infrastructure has to be further developed to enhance market competition and increase economic welfare for the societies, to improve the security of electricity supply, connect renewable energy sources and unlock the full flexibility potential needed to support renewables. During the Albanian presidency, the new TEN-E regulation will be incorporated in the Energy Community to be followed by the new PECI/PMI projects selection process.
- Lengthy permitting procedures for renewables stay biggest obstacle to accelerate energy transition. Regulatory complexity, lengthy procedures and their uncertain outcomes discourage investors, cause delays and make projects more expensive. Therefore, one of the key priorities of the Energy Community during the Albanian presidency will be to identify gaps, barriers and bottlenecks and provide country specific guidelines and recommendations on how to improve and streamline permitting procedures for renewables. The guidelines will include options and best practices for streamlining of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and permit-related procedures with other environmental assessment procedures and permits, in particular the options for one-stop-shop approach, in each Contracting Party and a specific methodology for planning and programming of energy projects zoning on a national and regional level.
- A regional approach to carbon pricing is the necessary condition for maintaining the current and upcoming achievements in the energy market integration – regarding electricity market coupling in particular –, and for progressing the energy transition in a cost effective manner. The EU’s incoming Regulation that establishes a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will keep the door open for the trade of electricity and other selected goods between the Contracting Parties and the Union only, if effective carbon pricing is established in the former. Divergent national approaches to carbon pricing will lead to inconsistency on an Energy Community level that could jeopardize the compliance for the whole region.
- Air pollution remains one of the most pressing environmental health problems globally, having the most direct effect on citizens’ quality of life. While recent developments brought greenhouse gas emissions at the forefront of the agenda of most international discussions via the climate agenda, emissions of „standard” pollutants such as particulate matter (dust), nitrogen oxides or sulphur dioxide tend to receive less focused and concentrated attention. Most Contracting Parties stand at the forefront of the problem and certain municipalities have, for a wide range of reasons, air pollution levels that unfortunately often put them at the top of global pollution rankings. The Albanian presidency will support an ambitious package in the field of air quality with the aim to address this long-lasting problem.
H.E Belinda Balluku
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Infrastructure and Energy
Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy
Energy Community Presidency in Office 2023