World Bank goes big on fighting climate change. More than a quarter of investment will now go directly to help developing world fight global warming.
In a statement, the Bank said that, in the next five years, it planned to help countries in the developing world add 30 gigawatts of renewable energy to global energy capacity; provide "early warning systems" to 100 million people; and develop "climate-smart agriculture investment plans for at least 40 countries.

At least $16bn a year, from across the World Bank group, which includes other development and finance institutions, will be directed to climate change projects, including renewable energy and energy efficiency. The group will aim to mobilise $13bn in extra funding from the private sector within four years, for instance through joint funding programmes. By 2020, these efforts should amount to about $29bn a year, nearly a third of the $100bn a year in climate finance promised by rich countries to the poor as part of global climate change agreements.

Albania will be in the focus of these investments as well. The perks of being a Mediterranean country, being blessed with 2400 hours of sun yearly with an average of 240 – 300 sunny days. Not to mention 152 rivers and streams, and 8 large rivers and considerate wind power on the sea side make the country very attractive for renewable energy.

“Albania has great potential for developing solar (one of the best in Europe) and wind-powered power plants”, said for AgroWeb, the Head of World Bank Office in Tirana, Tahseen Sayed.

In line with IFC (World Bank Group’s private sector arm) strategic focus regarding climate change mitigation, the Renewable Energy Program, in place since year 2010, aims to develop the market for renewable energy in Western Balkan countries. This program addresses many barriers to development of the renewable energy sector./AgroWeb.org/

“The absence of stable and predictable regulatory framework remains one of the main impediments to growth. In addition, structure of the Albanian power system such as the lack of transmission capacities, as well as difficulties in balancing intermittent renewable energy generation, could represent an additional obstacle for wider utilization of natural potential. The IFC’s new Energy Program is expected to be launched soon and will aim to rectify this situation by addressing impediments to growth and to catalyze investments in clean energy generation”, said World Bank Country Manager, Sayed.

Albania, like many of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, is undergoing a transition to a competitive market economy. Yet it’s growth is hindered by an insecure energy supply and frequent power shortages. Realizing the energy saving potential of its residential sector will benefit the entire economy, redirecting much needed energy resources to other sectors like production and trade.

Over the longer term, the potential for increased investment in renewable energy in Albania is excellent, according to experts as the country becomes an energy exporter. Albania plans to spend over $200m to build power cables to Italy, a country with excess energy demand. This should help drive additional investment in renewable energy.

John Roome, senior director for climate change at the World Bank, told journalists: “This is a fundamental shift for the World Bank. We are putting climate change into our DNA. Climate change will drive 100 million more people into poverty in the next 15 years [unless action is taken].”

The bank will also target “smart” agriculture systems, which use less water and energy and retain soil fertility, and will help countries develop their transport and urban infrastructure to produce much less carbon. All projects considered for funding – including health, education and other development priorities – will be screened for their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Albania has pledged its new climate action plan to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), pledging to maintain low greenhouse gas emission content of the electricity generation and decoupling growth from increase of greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors.

But achieving a decline in greenhouse-gas emissions at the lowest possible cost requires a revolution in energy use and production. Renewables will play an essential role in Albania in order to reduce greenhouse emission. At the same time, the right carbon price would enable a smooth transition away from fossil fuels by encouraging investments in technological innovation.