"Kosovo may face energy crisis over coal shortage in early 2018"

The American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo (AmCham) has said the country may face an energy crisis early next year due to delays in the expropriation of land in the areas where a new coal mine is planned to open.

Kosovo thermal power plants are not operating in full capacity due to a shortage of coal supplies, AmCham said in a Facebook post on Tuesday after a meeting of its representatives with Kosovo's economic development minister Valdrin Lluka and local power suppliers. 

“Despite government commitments, the expropriation process has not resulted in sustainable solutions, endangering stable energy supply if the issue is not resolved in the near future,” AmCham said.

A shortage of coal may lead to disruption of electricity supplies starting from January, it added.  

The economic development ministry has set up a task force consisting of representatives of relevant institutions and organizations in the field of electricity, which will soon come up with a report to be discussed with the government with the aim of averting power shortages, local media quoted  Lluka as saying at the meeting with AmCham.

Kosovo's thermal power plants are currently generating about 400 MW of electricity, while a further 400 MW are being imported, Lluka added.

The Kosovo Power Corporation (KEK) said last week it urged villagers living in the area where the new coal mine is planned to sign a land expropriation agreement no later than December 15.

Some 98% of electricity generated in Kosovo comes from two old, inefficient and highly polluting lignite-fired power plants, Kosovo A and B. Kosovo citizens suffer power shortages due to insufficient output, aging grids, and thefts, according to a recent World Bank report on Kosovo's energy sector.

Kosovo's coal output decreased to 1.8 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2017, from 2.3 million tonnes in the prior-year period, Kosovo's statistical agency said last month. /SeeNews