Energy constitutes a priority field with innovative potential for the economy, identified within the framework of the Strategy for Smart Specialization (S3) based on a detailed analysis of capacities, resources, as well as the competitive advantages that Albania possesses. The development of S3 is part of Albania's obligations in the context of the EU accession negotiation process, specifically Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research," as well as part of the 2021-2024 Western Balkans Action Plan within the Berlin Process. Additionally, it is part of the EU agenda for innovation in the Western Balkans for 2021-2027.
In this context, the National S3 Team, with the support of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers, organized a roundtable discussion on the alternative energy sector on November 16, 2022, following the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Approximately 15 representatives from the quadruple helix (government, academia, business, civil society) participated in this meeting. Participants made valuable contributions by presenting the sector's needs and possible solutions for intelligent development in the field of alternative energy.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers and a member of the National S3 Team, who guided the discussions into two parts. During the first session, participants discussed the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for sector development through a dialogue format, while in the second session, they analyzed the path toward intelligent specialization in the alternative energy sector. At the conclusion of the roundtable, participants shared their thoughts on the strategic measures necessary to fully harness the sector's potential, with a focus on promoting innovation and scientific research.
Among other topics, the participants discussed:
- Challenges and issues related to labor force shortages and competitiveness in the regional and broader markets;
- The need to transition from a linear economy to a circular economy;
- Incentives for investments in the alternative energy field;
- Emigration, human capital, and brain drain;
- The lack of a waste separation system and the legal prohibition of waste imports;
- Awareness campaigns for citizens;
- The need for a review of the existing legal framework;
- Collaboration between central and local government actors, civil society, business, and academia, with the aim of promoting innovation in the sector.
The conclusions drawn from intersectoral collaboration and networking with key stakeholders will serve as the basis for a national workshop in the field of energy.