USAID’s REPOWER-Kosovo, implemented by DT Global, is a five-year activity that worked with the Government of Kosovo (GOK) and Kosovo energy institutions to promote clean energy and improve the enabling environment for private sector investment in the energy sector. By working with key stakeholders in both the public and private sector, REPOWER has helped further Kosovo’s continued efforts to modernize the country’s electricity sector.

After five successful years of implementation, USAID’s REPOWER officially closed on September 30, 2019. To mark the end of the activity, our REPOWER staff held a closing event in Pristina, Kosovo on September 17, 2019, that highlighted the project’s numerous successes and achievements since inception in 2014. In attendance were approximately 70 representatives from beneficiary institutions, including the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO), Kosovo Transmission, System and Market Operator (KOSTT), Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK), Kosovo Electricity Energy Distribution Services (KEDS), Kosovo Electricity Supply Company (KESCO), University of Prishtina and RIT Kosovo (AUK), as well as members of USAID, and the U.S. Embassy.

To commemorate our project close, we are highlighting five key successes from the implementation of REPOWER-Kosovo:

Drafting and Implementing Energy Policy

Since the start of the project, REPOWER has provided extensive support to multiple GOK stakeholders, including the ERO, KOSTT, and the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), in energy policy drafting and implementation. We supported the Kosovo government with its adoption of the revised ten-year Country Energy Strategy, which was adopted by the Kosovo Assembly (Parliament) and endorsed, at the time, by the World Bank. REPOWER helped with drafting and developing 35 secondary legislation documents and over 60 analyses, studies, and elaborations. Finally, in conjunction with beneficiary institutions including the ERO and MED, REPOWER helped KOSTT become a fully certified Transmission System Operator (TSO). This enabled the TSO to perform its functions independently from any other business in the energy sector fully in line with binding international standards, and therefore offers non-discriminatory access to the transmission network for all free market operators operating in the territory of the Republic of Kosovo.

Developing Clean and Renewable Energy

REPOWER has supported the ERO through coordination of technical assistance in the concept, design, development, and implementation of a legal and policy framework for clean energy projects, particularly those from renewable energy sources (RES). As a result of REPOWER assistance, over 539 MW of RES from wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power have been authorized by the ERO. On top of developing a RES Fund within the Market Operator in order to operationalize RES projects power purchase agreements, our team worked with MED staff to establish a One-Stop-Shop (OSS) within the Ministry to facilitate RES project development. The OSS is designed to perform two roles in parallel, providing critical information for RES project developers and acting as an advisor for different GoK institutions involved in the RES projects with an objective to continuously streamline demanding legal and regulatory procedures. The progress made within the renewable energy sector is crucial not only for fulfilment of binding international commitments, but also for activities related to the coal sector, and is an essential part of the country’s energy strategy and overall economy recovery.

Building Capacity in the Energy Sector

To build capacity within the energy industry, REPOWER-Kosovo trained members from the ERO, KOSTT, KEK, MED, KEDS in different sectors including open market trade, capital and operational expenditures planning, project financing concept, and community development agreements for municipalities. As part of the training program we organized eight study tours for ERO, MED, KOSTT and KEK officials to visit counterparts in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and Slovenia. These study tours allowed Kosovar energy sector officials to meet their regional and European counterparts and learn about their experiences, insights, and challenges. Finally, in an effort help further opportunities for young students to learn and break into professional positions within the Kosovo energy sector, REPOWER launched an internship program in partnership with the University of Prishtina and RIT Kosovo. Over five years, REPOWER has graduated six rounds of interns who have had the opportunity to gain professional work experience in Kosovo’s public sector energy institutions. Of the 95 total students who have completed the program, 60 students were women and 41 students moved on to secure full-time employment positions within the ERO, KEK, and KOSTT following graduation.

Empowering Women in the Energy Sector

As a cross-cutting component, REPOWER provided support to women in the Kosovar energy sector, including ongoing mentoring between women across all four public energy institutions in the country. This culminated in the establishment of the Association of Women in the Energy Sector of Kosovo (AWESK) in April 2018, assisted by REPOWER. Formed as a result of an idea presented at a gender equality workshop in March 2016, AWESK now has over 100 members and is the first and only civil society organization in Kosovo focusing on gender in the energy sector. It has a diverse membership - from members who work directly in the energy sector, to members in related fields such as academics and energy efficient architects. Through mentoring, networking, skill development, and career self-management, AWESK strives to empower women within the energy industry. To assist AWESK in becoming an official association, REPOWER supported AWESK in drafting and adopting key strategy and action plan documents for the Assembly and Board to become fully operational and functioning.

Supporting Regional Integration and Improve Security of Supply

REPOWER-Kosovo has been working to facilitate coupling of the energy markets of Kosovo and Albania between them and then followed by regional integration with other markets in order to diversify their energy portfolio and reduce energy costs. In the last five years, with the help of our team, a detailed Joint Action Plan with 166 identified action-items has been developed jointly with USAID Albania including coordination of several joint meetings organized between the two governments, their ministries and sector institutions. The main focus of REPOWER expertize was to provide technical assistance for the legal and regulatory preparations for Kosovo’s key stakeholders to be fully prepared for planned market integration.

In order for the sector to increase security of supply, REPOWER supported KEK in defining financing options for rehabilitation of aged power plants, as well as, development of designated site-specific studies required for the New Kosovo power plant project.