South East Europe Regional Initiative

South East Europe (SEE) has substantial, largely untapped renewable energy potential. Some countries in the region have begun to exploit these resources, but the renewable energy sector in southeast Europe is still in its infancy – except for the large hydropower capacity, most of which was constructed several decades ago.

Much of the region’s vast and unexploited potential could already be cost-competitive for power generation, as indicated in the IRENA report, “Cost-competitive renewable power generation: Potential across South East Europe”. SEE policy makers are poised to continue scaling up renewables in line with the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework’s goal of deriving 27% of energy from renewables by that year.

The region has already attracted large-scale investment in renewables, but ensuring a successful energy transition requires more. IRENA specified its commitment to the region in the Communiqué on accelerating the uptake of renewables in South East Europe, including support for policy makers and investors in the following areas:

  • mapping renewable energy resources;
  • long-term planning for RE deployment;
  • socio-economic benefits of renewable energy;
  • enabling frameworks: technical, policy, regulatory, institutional;
  • integration of variable renewable energy sources to power systems; and
  • access to finance for renewable energy projects.

Cost-competitive renewable power generation: Potential across South East Europe

  • vast technical renewable energy potential of 739 gigawatts (GW). Wind energy is the most abundant resource in the region, with an overall technical potential of 532 GW, more than 4 times higher than that of solar PV.
  • of that total, 126.9 GW, or almost 17% of total technical potential, could be developed in cost-competitive generation projects.
  • cost-competitive potential could surpass 290 GW if investors had access to low-cost financing. By 2030, additional cost-competitive potential for solar PV and wind is expected to reach 620 GW.