The region of South-East Europe (SEE) comprises 10 countries on the Balkan Peninsula. The region consists of the so-called Western Balkans covering countries which have not yet joined the EU but all aspire to (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) and countries which are members of the EU (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Romania). The Western Balkan countries are parties to the Energy Community.
The power systems of the SEE countries are characterised by rather old and emission intensive power plants, with predominantly state-owned energy supply monopolies. Lignite plays a significant role in the power system of the region with its total production being close to the level in Germany, the single-largest producer of lignite in the EU.
- Kosovo is the most lignite dependent country in the region generating 97 percent of its electricity from lignite.
- Albania is the only country in the region which does not have any coal-fired power plants and its domestic power mix is solely comprised of hydro power.
- In Macedonia most of the electricity comes from lignite with a 65-70 percent share in the power generation mix. Depending on the precipitation conditions the hydro share varies from 30-35 percent.
- Some 50 percent of the Greek power mix come from hard-coal and lignite, some 30 percent from gas. The remaining 20 percent stem from oil, hydro, wind and solar.
Solar and wind still play a very small role in the SEE region. Croatia has some 50 percent hydro in the mix. Nuclear, coal, wind and some solar make up the remaining part. Serbia, similar to Macedonia, generates more than 60 percent of its electricity from coal and the remainder mainly from hydro power. Montenegro’s power generation mix comprises mainly hydro power and some 30 percent coal. Bulgaria and Romania have nuclear power in their mix while hard-coal and lignite represent the largest generation source in Bulgaria and hydro power in Romania. Bosnia and Herzegovina produces power mainly from coal and hydro, the latter with a share of some 20 percent.
The SEE region is suffering from high energy poverty (estimated at 40 percent of the households in the entire region), high energy intensity (around 3 to 4 times higher than in EU average) and pronounced air pollution.
Currently the region is at a cross-road how to replace ageing coal-based generation. The region itself has a vast potential for developing renewable energy (especially solar and wind) as well as significant opportunities for enhancing energy efficiency. The joint political past of many SEE countries and the close geographical and political ties between them offer a unique opportunity to advance decarbonisation and energy transition in a regional context over the coming decade. To this end, Agora Energiewende has launched several projects with regional partners in Southeastern Europe.