Gender and socially just energy communities in Albania

Keywords: citizen energy, climate protection, resource conservation, capacity building, networking, energy community, knowledge transfer

Subject and goals of the project

Albania is almost exclusively dependent on hydropower for 98% of its electricity generation and will be increasingly exposed to predicted extreme hydrological situations in the future and thus problems with the security of energy supply. However, as a member of the European Energy Community and an EU accession candidate, the country has committed itself to decarbonizing its economy, increasing energy efficiency, harnessing the potential of renewable energies and diversifying electricity generation from hydropower to other renewable energy sources. Driven by the motivation to increase their own energy security, protect themselves from rising energy prices and take an active role in the fight against climate change, citizens and companies in this region are also increasingly turning to renewable energies, even though they face numerous obstacles in doing so.

The project aims to promote both renewable energies in Albania and citizen participation in the energy transition, while at the same time strengthening gender equality. The main target groups are Albanian women entrepreneurs in rural areas, members of low-income households and young people. In training courses and exchange events, they should recognize and understand the potential of citizen energy as well as self-consumption and self-generation of renewable energy for individual action and implement it in their own activities. The aim is to empower them to take the energy transition into their own hands in terms of acceptance and self-efficacy, to secure their own energy supply and, at best, to create green jobs.

Another focus of the project is to gradually change the framework conditions in the country with regard to the use of various renewable energy sources and the establishment of renewable energy communities. The aim is to enter into dialog with political decision-makers and carry out capacity building.

Innovation and exemplary nature of the project

Renewable energy communities represent an innovative concept for Albania to promote decentralized generation and supply of renewable energies. The development of energy communities in this country is still in its infancy, which is why the training of stakeholders is of great interest and importance – especially as an alternative to the repeatedly discussed and implemented expansion of micro and small hydropower plants, which affect the partly untouched river landscapes of Albania and other Western Balkan countries. As multipliers, the target groups are to contribute to the development of new structures in many regions of Albania.

Special aspects of the project

The special aspect of this project lies in the basic idea of offering help for self-help, particularly with regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women. People are empowered to launch energy initiatives in their neighborhoods, workplaces, universities or cities. Participation and inclusion will increase the general acceptance of the energy transition, help shape the energy transition and thus accelerate the urgently needed expansion of renewable energies.

Funding theme 6: Renewable energy, energy saving and efficiency

Project Implementation:

Places of work: Germany, Albania

Funding period: November 2023 to November 2025

Project costs: Total volume: 174,705 euros, funding from DBU: 121,905 euros

DBU-AZ: 38996

Status: 29.02.2024

Pictures: © Milieukontakt