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Statkraft starts construction of Devoll hydropower plants in Albania

TIRANA (Albania), June 17 (SeeNews) - Norway's Statkraft said on Monday it has decided to start the construction of the Devoll hydropower project in Albania with the combined investment costs for the first two power stations seen at 535 million euro ($714 million).

Initially, it has been decided to build hydropower plants Banje and Moglice with a combined capacity of 243 megawatts (MW) and an annual production of about 700 gigawatt-hours (GWh), Statkraft said in a press release.

In total, the Devoll project consists of three hydropower plants in the valley of Devoll, with an installed capacity of 278 MW. On average, the power plants will produce about 800 GWh annually, increasing Albania's electricity production by almost 20%. The investment decision for the third plant will be considered when the first two plants are completed.

The power plants are located on the Devoll river, about 70 kilometers southeast of the capital Tirana.

The tendering process for the main contracts is in its final stage and main construction works are planned to start in October. The first two plants are expected to be completed in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

The project company Devoll Hydropower Sh.A. used to be a 50/50 joint venture between Statkraft and the Austrian energy company EVN. Earlier this year, Statkraft acquired EVN's 50% share and is now 100% owner of the company and the construction project. The change in ownership has been approved by the Albanian authorities.

The concession agreement gives Devoll Hydropower the right to build, own and operate the power plants until they are transferred back to Albanian authorities at the end of the concession period.

Statkraft is Europe's largest generator of renewable energy and is the leading power company in Norway. The company owns, produces and develops hydropower, wind power, gas-fired power and district heating.

($=0.7497 euro)

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