Energy has been identified as one of the priority areas with innovative potential during the mapping phase developed within the framework of the Strategy for Smart Specialization (S3). The development of S3 is part of Albania's obligations regarding the EU accession negotiation process, specifically Chapter 20 "Enterprises and Industrial Policies" and Chapter 25 "Science and Research," as well as part of the Western Balkans 2021-2024 Action Plan within the Berlin Process. It is also part of the EU agenda for innovation in the Western Balkans 2021-2027.
In this context, the National S3 Team, with the support of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers, organized a roundtable discussion on renewable energy on November 16, 2022, following the methodology of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Approximately 30 representatives from quadruple helix sectors (government, academia, business, civil society) participated in this event. Participants made valuable contributions by presenting the sector's needs and possible solutions for intelligent energy development.
The meeting began with welcoming remarks from two panel members: Mr. Gjergji Simaku, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, and Ms. Albana Tole, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Education and Sports. Mr. Arben Shkodra, Secretary-General of the Union of Albanian Manufacturers and a panel member, guided the discussion in two parts. The first part of the meeting focused on the challenges, opportunities, and prospects for the development of the energy sector, while the second part analyzed the path toward smart specialization in the renewable energy sector.
Representatives from the quadruple helix mainly discussed the following themes:
- Strategic measures necessary to fully utilize the potential of the energy sector, with a focus on promoting innovation and scientific research;
- Human capital, in terms of numbers and expertise, brain drain, and the importance of a developed academy;
- Albania's position in the regional and global market and competitiveness;
- The advantages offered by technological innovation for the intelligent specialization of the sector and the strengthening of Albania's position in the regional market;
- Coordination among quadruple helix actors for joint decision-making for the effectiveness of financing and long-term investments in the sector;
- Smart green.
The discussions held during this meeting will serve as a basis for a national workshop in the field of energy.