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World Bank workshop on climate risks and vulnerabilities of Albania's energy sector

Available in: Albanian

Albania Assesses Climate Change Risk to Energy Sector

Slideshow-<em><strong>Albania Assesses Climate Change Risk to Energy Sector</strong></em>
Overview of Climate Change

Early action to manage the risks that changing climate trends pose to existing energy infrastructure in Albania may reduce vulnerability and increase the resilience of the sector as it moves forward.

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report, IPCC AR4). In the coming decades, Albania is projected to face rising average temperatures, increasing risk of heat waves, and intense precipitation events, decreased annual average precipitation as well as rising sea levels.

Climate Change WorkshopAlbania’s First National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2002) highlighted some key vulnerabilities of the energy sector, including effects on energy demand for space heating, space cooling, water heating, and refrigeration. It estimated that rising temperatures could lead to a 12-16% reduction in energy demand for space heating in the residential sector by 2025, compared to the 1990 baseline.

In contrast, demand for cooling is projected to increase in hotter summers. But energy demand drivers are not limited to temperature, with precipitation, wind speed, and cloud cover also being important factors. Since about 80% of Albania’s energy is generated by hydropower facilities, it is particularly vulnerable to projected decreases in precipitation.

To build greater understanding of potential risks and management options, the World Bank, together with the Government of Albania, conducted a workshop in Tirana on March 10, 2009 on climate risks and vulnerabilities in the country’s energy sector as well as opportunities presented by climate change.  Participants included a cross section of stakeholders from the Government, key agencies and institutions, academia, the private sector and civil society. 

Climate Change WorkshopWorld Bank Country Manager for Albania Camille Nuamah commented: “There are opportunities to build in resilience for climate change when planning and designing new energy infrastructure. I am glad to be able to bring World Bank experience and that of our consultants to Albania to work in close partnership with the Government and energy sector to deliver a hands-on, participatory vulnerability and adaptation assessment.”

At the plenary Dr. Suzana Guxholli, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister commented on the importance of balanced and sustainable development planning in light of energy security concerns in Albania; where power cuts occur frequently, existing energy assets are in need of rehabilitation, and new assets are being planned together with privatization of the energy sector.  Continued economic growth in industry, tourism and mining will contribute to rising energy demand.  The importance of diversification and the integration of climate considerations into policy and planning were noted by HE. Lufter Xhuveli, Minister of Environment, Forestry and Water Administration.

CC photoParticipants discussed existing energy assets, their current vulnerability to weather events, and the sensitivity of operations and maintenance to climate trends projected over 2020-50.  Discussions built upon ongoing analysis in Albania’s Second National Communication; Ms Eglantina Bruci, UNDP and Mr Besim Islami, Energy Specialist gave a preview of their findings during the plenary session.  Various scenarios for the development of the sector – envisaged in the draft National Energy Strategy – were also addressed with additional emphasis being placed on design considerations. 

While climate change impacts will intensify over time, some effects are already occurring and early action to manage the risks that these changing hazards pose to existing energy infrastructure may reduce total costs and risks. Furthermore, there are opportunities to build in resilience for climate change at lower cost when planning and designing new energy infrastructure.

“By analyzing the areas of the energy sector where Albania might be at risk from climate change, we can identify and more quickly implement solutions, moving from weather crisis management to climate adaptation including no-regrets solutions,” said ESMAP Senior Energy Specialist Jane Ebinger.  “The knowledge gained from these activities can also be shared globally so that we can all coordinate our efforts to reducing the economic risk of climate change.”

CC photoA summary workshop report is under preparation and will be made available for comment by the end of March.  A second workshop will follow in April 2009 to consider adaptation options across a range of development scenarios, their costs, and benefits.  

A briefing was also provided to NGO organizations on the assignment, and preliminary outputs from this first workshop.  The importance of civil society outreach and engagement was raised by participants and a commitment was made by the World Bank team to re-convene and continue discussions during the proposed April workshop.

CC photoThe workshop series is supported by grant funding from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a global knowledge and technical assistance partnership administered by the World Bank to secure energy requirements for equitable economic growth and poverty reduction in an environmentally sustainable way – and from the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development, which provides grant resources for World Bank activities aimed at mainstreaming the environmental, social, and poverty reducing dimensions of sustainable development into World Bank work.

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