I forgot my password

IENE: Renewables to Spearhead Energy Investment and Economic Development in SE Europe

IENE: Renewables to Spearhead Energy Investment and Economic Development in SE EuropeIn late January, IENE sent to its members the latest issue of its monthly analysis, under the title “Renewables to play key role in SE Europe’s economic development”. This latest analysis by the IENE assesses the likely options arising from the substantial penetration of renewables in the energy mix of SE European region over the last few years and anticipated further growth by 2020

In late January, IENE sent to its members the latest issue of its monthly analysis, under the title "Renewables to play key role in SE Europe’s economic development”. This latest analysis by the IENE assesses the likely options arising from the substantial penetration of renewables in the energy mix of SE European region over the last few years and anticipated further growth by 2020.

As this latest IENE analysis points out, most countries in SE Europe are currently finding themselves at a critical point in deciding on the optimal strategy which they must follow in achieving a future with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and clean and sustainable power resources. Both are necessary conditions in boosting economic growth since many economists now consider renewables a critical factor in pursuing regional cohesiveness and economic development.

According to latest IENE findings, the market of renewables is emerging as one of the most vibrant and faster moving sectors within the broader SE European energy sector. However, the huge potential of renewables in SE Europe, such as solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal, still remains largely untapped by many countries, mostly in the West Balkans, but also in countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which already show a high degree of their use. However, due to SE Europe’s highly divergent economies and social backgrounds, there are great difficulties in advocating common strategies of renewables.

In IENE’s just completed "SE Europe Energy Outlook 2016/2017” study, due to be published shortly, a comprehensive and in depth analysis is provided on current regional status and future outlook of renewables.

According to IENE’s data, the current total installed power capacity in SE Europe stands at 145.2 GW, with Turkey, Romania and Greece having the largest net generation capacity of 62.8 GW, 25.1 GW and 19.1 GW respectively. The power systems vary significantly across the region in terms of the energy resource base and indigenous energy production versus energy import dependency and energy supply mix. For instance, while Albania relies for its power generation almost entirely on hydropower, Kosovo relies predominantly on lignite, while other countries have a mix of hydro- and fossil fuel-based power generation. Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey are the only countries in SE Europe that already have significant solar PV and wind energy capacity installed.

The power generation mix in SE Europe is currently dominated by solid fuels and hydropower (pumping excluded), generating 37.7% and 22.7% of electricity respectively, according to IENE’s data. In this sense, the deployment of renewables is still at a relatively early stage, but a significant potential for both wind and solar energy has been identified and capacities are expected to increase fairly quickly by 2050.

Apart from any technical and non-technical barriers that SE Europe must overcome in order to meet COP 21 targets, the key question arising is whether the region is ready to replace coal with other energy forms. Today, SE Europe remains a carbon-intensive region and in most of the countries with the exception of Albania, coal constitutes an extremely important asset, which helps national economies and ensures energy security. A number of countries in the region are now seeking EU membership, but initially they must meet economic, political, energy and environmental conditions by making deep reforms, which inevitably will at some point affect their energy mix, thus influencing their energy security options.

As described in IENE’s Monthly Analysis, the extensive use of renewables may help reduce the use of solid fuels and insulate their economies to some extent from fossil fuel, oil and gas price fluctuations. It remains to be seen though to what extend IENE’s 2020 projections for renewable-based electricity as well as the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (i.e. detailed reports submitted by countries outlining commitments and initiatives in order to meet the required penetration of renewables’ level per the targets set) of the countries under examination can be met.


PUBLICATIONS SEEEO 2016-2017 SEEED More

COOPERATING ORGANISATIONS IEA WEC Energy Community BBSPA EPG AERS ROEC BPIE RCEN Geothermal Finance and Awareness in European Regions