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Virtual Seminar: Sustainable Energy Development in Albania: Opportunities and Investment Protection Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic recession have significantly dampened activity and appetite for investment in the energy industry, notably in the hydrocarbon sector.  At the same time, while some States have used COVID-19 as a pretext to restrict or even expropriate investments in renewables, others see the situation more positively as an opportunity to move forward with the development of sustainable energy sources.  Albania is a case in point.  With a high potential for hydropower, solar and wind energy thanks to its geography, Albania is aggressively seeking to attract major investment in renewable energy over the coming years.  In the framework of the integration process to the European Union of the Western Balkan countries, Albania is advancing with the process of energy market liberalisation, sustainable development and regional integration with the European internal energy market (IEM).  This seminar presented an overview of the renewable investment opportunities Albania has to offer and will review the relevant international legal context, including investment protection.  Future seminars will provide a similar overview of energy investment opportunities in other countries in the south-eastern Europe region.

 

The speakers for this seminar were:

Atty. Lorenc Gordani, PhD (Chief of Professional Master Department and Lecturer in the Field of Public and Business Law, Tirana Business University (TBU); Adviser in Energy Policy & Law, Regulation and Infrastructure in Albania Energy Market).  Dr Gordani’s main professional activities include academic teaching, applied research, strategic consulting and institutional capacity building.  His work focuses on the EU and Albanian legal framework and public policies offered to industry and interest groups, international institutions and public authorities. His activities particularly emphasise the promotion of issues related to sustainable growth in the Albanian energy market within the framework of regional integration of the Western Balkan countries as part of the EU integration process.

Educated in Italy, Germany and France, Dr Gordani has worked as a researcher, professor and trainer at different national and international environments and has been engaged as legal advisor and consultant to global and local companies as well as public authorities. His activities have been accompanied by numerous publications on the practical implications of EU and Albanian law, focused mainly on policy, business and energy law.

Dr Gordani spoke about “The Albania energy sector: towards the era of large and sustainable developments”.

His presentation began by focusing on the major business opportunities offered by Albania’s energy market, passing from the traditional hydropower source to the emerging photovoltaic, wind, biomass, natural gas, energy efficiency, trading and supply, etc.

Then, further, the presentation developed the analysis of the legal framework and procedures to obtain rights to develop infrastructural energy production projects, and the right approach to be adopted by interested international developers.

In this regard, an added value will be the present different incentives, benefits and the new opportunities offered by the liberalisation and regional integration of the market.  A situation that is accelerating existing projects as well as the planning and open new procurement procedure for the development of new large-scale projects.

 

Graham Coop, Partner at Volterra Fietta and former General Counsel to the Energy Charter Secretariat.  Mr Coop is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand and as a solicitor with higher rights of audience (Civil) in England and Wales. He advises and represents companies, governments and international organisations on international dispute resolution and public international law, with a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure and banking sectors. He currently represents an EU member State in relation to banking measures taken in response to developments arising out of the 2008 global financial crisis.  He has appeared as counsel, advocate and expert before a wide range of international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, ICSID, the PCA and the ICC. He is on the UK Attorney General’s list of public international law practitioners.

Mr Coop addressed the international legal context from which foreign investors in Albania can benefit in relation to renewable energy projects, including international investment protection, Albania’s integration with the European internal energy market and other relevant European and regional initiatives, and Albania’s membership of the Energy Charter Treaty.

For any queries regarding the content of the seminar, please email graham.coop@volterrafietta.com.