Prishtina, 27.05.2013 Minister of Economic Development, Fadil Ismajli, presented the Ministrys priorities and direction in the course of this term, highlighting that priority will be given to the development of new energy capacities, conclusion of projects which are underway, and improvement of POE performance.
In his first press conference after being appointed as Minister of Economic Development, Mr. Ismajli thanked the Principal Deputy Prime Minister, Behgjet Pacolli and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, for trusting him with this very important duty of Kosovos economic development, a Ministry which directs the development of the country, develops macroeconomic policies and establishes the legal and regulatory infrastructure for other important economic sectors, which are promoters of the future and development. He also thanked Minister Besim Beqaj for his hard work in MED.
The new Minister of MED committed to engage in the implementation of ongoing projects, and will engage to ensure adequate implementation of completed projects.
Focusing on energy, Minister Ismajli concluded that the privatization of distribution was successfully completed, and the preferred bidder was recently handed over full management power over this enterprise, and added that he will be actively involved in ensuring that this company is successful and improves all areas of concern, which were the reasons for moving forward with its privatization, ensuring it becomes a success story in the region.
One of the priorities we think deserves our focus is the long-delayed project of TPP Kosova e Re. We have lignite and, indeed, we are striving to ensure the best for the country and the people, always respecting our requirements stemming from the international and energy communities, said the Minister, adding that this implies a policy of protecting the environment and opening the electricity market, which allow the optimization of construction and use of similar resources.
On the TPP Kosova e Re project, Minister of Economy said that the approval of documents is now completed, and the process in now in the phase of selecting the company to build the generators, and committed that efforts will be made to ensure that by January 2015 construction of lignite-based thermal power plants will commence.
Minister Ismalji also spoke on the 40 kV line Kosovo-Albania, which has particular importance for both countries and the region, particularly in optimizing the two systems and that of the region.
Among other things, this line is significant for the development of the common market Kosovo-Albania, which will have an impact in enormous electricity supply in both sides, merging different complementary energy resources, with the support of the European Commission, as this is in line with the overall opening of the regional market, which is expected to occur in 2015, added the Minister.
According to him, USAID has also pledged support on this issue, as well as the Norwegian Government, in developing a feasibility study as a step prior to construction.
Minister Ismajli said that although TPP Kosova A is planned to be decommissioned by 2017, he hopes it will be shut down after the entry into operation of at least the first generator of TPP Kosova e Re.
Irrespective of its age, TPP Kosovo A in the postwar years played a very important role in the power supply and, as such, its decommissioning before the new generators are operational would not only create a shortage of electricity, but rather an enormous price increase of electricity. Therefore, we will be engaged in ensuring a gradual shut down of this truly obsolete power plant, said the Minister.
Ismajli stated that MED is developing several projects on the implementation of energy efficiency measures in central and municipal public buildings and other projects in cooperation with donors.
We will build very constructive relations with the Regulator. I recognize the importance and independence of the regulator. The ministry may submit requests to the Regulator which do not infringe its independence. The Regulator is called to be more independent as it must simultaneously protect the interests of consumers and interests of the industry, and find the common ground between the two parties, added the Minister.
According to Minister Ismajli, another issue which MED should seriously address is the review of the Energy Strategy of Kosovo, and added that there are ideas how to approach this exercise, because we have challenges to address which stem from European Directives and the Energy Community Secretariat in Vienna, such as the fulfillment of 20:20:20 targets, etc.
To ensure that these targets are fulfilled in time and renewable energy is available, the Regulator must continue with feed-in tariffs for wind and solar energy. To this end, MED and other stakeholders shall be committed to create a legal and regulatory structure and framework for interested parties for investments in the sector, said Ismali.
Economic Development Minister also informed the public that a recent study funded by EBRD is underway, which shall review the optimal wind energy capacities in Kosovo, and this shall be an important parameter. The basis for this Strategy will be Security of Power Supply, which considers both traditional and renewable potential in Kosovo.
This study will take into account electricity needs, also in combination with hydropower plants in Albania; this means that we will well-thought studies for the purposes of the Strategy, which will be considered to ensure we have a clear guideline in our journey towards ensuring sustainable energy supply domestically and affordable for the consumers, said Minister Ismajli.
Regarding the privatization of 75% of PTK shares, Minister stated that this was a transparent process, based on procurement rules of Kosovo, and is now in its final phase.
All processes, including telecom and distribution and supply, due to their importance, will continue to be monitored by special units of MED, to ensure that requirements envisaged in the tendering process are fully fulfilled, to ensure that both telecom and energy consumers are satisfied.
Minister Ismajli also spoke on the Publicly Owned Enterprises which are monitored by MED, stating that measurable indicators will be used to ensure that POEs are no longer cumbersome to the state, and that they are financial self-sustainable.
He added that appointment of Board Members is underway, and stricter conditions are no applied, to eliminate conflicts of interest, and professional level of members, which is a guarantee for success.