August 9, 2011 - The World Bank Group has appointed a panel of experts to review a proposed independent power project (IPP) in Kosovo for which that country’s government has requested support in the form of a partial risk guarantee (PRG) from the World Bank.
The panel, made up of three distinguished energy experts, namely János Beér, Wladyslaw Mielczarski, and Derek Taylor, will assess the Kosovo Power Project according to the six screening criteria for coal power projects in the Bank Group’s Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change. The World Bank’s consideration of the Government of Kosovo’s request for support will be guided by the Panel’s report regarding the project’s compliance with these criteria.
The Government views the project as a key element of its energy strategy aimed at enhancing reliability of the country’s power supply. The strategy comprises five elements:
- private sector investment in a new lignite-fired power generation project (the subject of the Government’s PRG request)
- privatization of the electricity distribution and supply business
- private sector participation in rehabilitation and environmental upgrade of the Kosovo B Power Station
- decommissioning of the Kosovo A Power Station by 2016-17
- development of renewable resources (including small hydropower plants, wind, solar, biomass)
The World Bank has been active in Kosovo’s energy sector through the Lignite Power Technical Assistance Project (LPTAP), which is helping the Government strengthen policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks to attract private investors qualified to develop lignite mines and build new capacity for lignite thermal power generation guided by high standards of environmental and social sustainability. LPTAP is financing preparation of the Kosovo Power Project, for which a safeguard advisor has completed a Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA).
USAID has also funded studies to assess the technical and economic feasibility of rehabilitation of Kosovo B, while the European Commission has funded a feasibility study to assess decommissioning of Kosovo A thermal power plant.
Germany’s KfW has invested in mining equipment and substations, in addition to the 400-kV transmission system with Albania, and is leading the EC investigation of converting Kosovo B into a combined heat and power plant.
The Danish Government funded a study assessing the potential for small hydropower plant development, and the Swiss Government contributed to wind studies, and has announced plans to fund the rehabilitation of a substation in Kosovo. Through a grant from the International Development Association, the World Bank is currently assisting in the environmental clean-up of the Kosovo A ash dump, and an abandoned coal gasification plant.