Devoll Hydropower Project – Hydropower in Albania

The Devoll Hydropower Project (Devoll HPP) in Albania consists of a cascade of hydropower plants along the Devoll River with a planned installed capacity of 256 MW. Production is estimated at 729 GWh/year.

  • Ownership: Statkraft 100%
  • Capacity: 256 MW
  • Development phase: Under construction

Corporate responsibility challenges and measures

Security has, from the very beginning, figured prominently in the Devoll-project. The size of the project, with over 2000 people working in the construction phase - whereof many unskilled - as well as challenging terrain, means that the security risks are numerous and encompassed a variety of disciplines. Strict security requirements have therefore been put in place, and solid security expertise is emphasized on all levels. Everyone involved in the project is given both general and, if required, more targeted safety training. Safety inspections are conducted regularly. Unfortunately there was nevertheless a fatal accident in 2014. Three people were killed when they were hit by a landslide whilst securing the access road to one of the units.

The Devoll HPP currently has a team of approximately 30 on-site employees and consultants involved in managing environment and social affairs. The project prepared an Environmental and Social Management Plan in 2013 comprising all environmental and social mitigation measures and providing a general framework for resettlement, livelihood restoration, social development and environmental management as well as monitoring indicators. This plan is implemented through detailed Annual Implementation Plans.

The main social impacts relate to the loss of agricultural and horticultural land, and the loss of livelihood associated with this impact, and roads. The project carried out a range of initiatives in 2014 to compensate for these anticipated losses. The overall goal is to mitigate ahead of impacts, pre-empting any economic difficulties that could be faced by the local population at the time of inundation.

The main initiative is the implementation of the Livelihood Support and Development Program. The program provides various agricultural and livelihood inputs and technical assistance to households directly affected by the project. The focus is on providing in-kind support and technical assistance, for example, in the form of veterinarian services, fruit pruning, etc.

In addition to the support provided for each household directly impacted by the project, village level solutions were also implemented based on community requests for two of the villages affected by Banjë HPP. The village of Shushice e Vogel has been supported with the construction and rehabilitation of an irrigation scheme (300 ha command area). The village of Mazrek has received support in the form of improved road access.

In order to identify impacts on physical assets and income sources, Statkraft has complied a comprehensive inventory and socioeconomic survey for the hydropower project in the upper part of the valley.   

The main environmental impacts of the Devoll HPP relate to the changes in the hydrology of the Devoll River and the creation of reservoirs. Water quality, currently being monitored on a regular basis, will be the focus of environmental mitigation efforts going forward, including improved urban waste management and sewage treatment for Gramsh town which is located at the tail end of the Banjë reservoir. 

Statkraft is working closely with local government in order to establish a clear hand-over procedure and exit strategy for the sewage and waste water facilities, as well as ensure maintenance of the plant after the construction phase is completed.

Statkraft is committed to compensating for loss of natural resources due to inundation. Areas for reforestation have been identified. Approximately 250ha will be reforested in the Banjë area in 2015.

Hydrology, sediment, meteorology and water sampling have been performed throughout the year. The established time series will be used in the up-coming planning and transition into operation phase and future market forecasts. In addition, the collected data are used as part of a Statkraft-wide Research and Development Program on developing future sediment handling strategies. The R&D program aims to develop new technologies and methods for improving the accuracy and predictions of sediment amounts and characteristics.

Village consultation in Dushk

Improved systems for waste management is a central part of the on-going work.