A new comprehensive study from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), reveals the enormous potential of renewable energy in the South East Europe (SEE) region. The report, Cost-Competitive Renewable Power Generation: Potential across South East Europe, was released at a high-level meeting preceeding the opening of the seventh session of IRENA’s Assembly, which gathered policymakers from SEE and key regional stakeholders, to discuss the opportunities and challenges in expanding the share of renewable energy in SEE. Detailed outcomes from the meeting were then presented in a communiqué.
The report underscores that SEE possesses vast technical renewable energy potential – equal to some 740 GW. The region’s wind energy (532 GW) and solar PV (120 GW) potential is largely untapped, and 127 GW of this overall renewable energy potential could be implemented in a cost-competitive way today. The report says this figure could rise further, to above 290 GW, if more favourable cost of capital is considered for the region.
“The region’s case for renewables is strong, particularly for solar and wind. Harnessing these resources will result in affordable energy, job creation, improved air quality, and a means to meet international commitments,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Solar and wind energy are now viable power supply options and the region is well poised to further scale-up its power systems sustainably.”
“IRENA is prepared to continue supporting governments across SEE to harness untapped renewable energy potential and accelerate their deployment,” added Mr. Amin. “Discussions at today’s meeting helped to identify the potential areas where IRENA can offer most added value and best assist countries in addressing the key obstacles hindering greater renewables deployment.”
The report provides useful guidance for decision-makers in the SEE region seeking to scale-up renewables, in line with new long-term EU renewable energy target aimed at driving future economic growth.
“The European Commission commends IRENA for scaling up its engagement in South East Europe,” said Dominique Ristori, Director General for Energy, European Commission. “This report will be a valuable contribution for policymakers in SEE to follow the EU’s goals to promote renewables.”
Increasing deployment and continued technological innovation have led to sharp cost reductions and improved cost-effectiveness, particularly for solar PV and wind energy. IRENA’s report shows that almost the entire potential of solar PV and wind energy in SEE, can be cost-competitively deployed by 2030. The broader macroeconomic impact of renewable energy deployment, along with notable socio-economic benefits, such as creating employment, developing local manufacturing capacity, avoiding health and environmental costs, and addressing climate change.
“I am strongly convinced that a close collaboration of IRENA and other key regional stakeholders will significantly contribute to our ongoing efforts in better harnessing the renewable energy potential currently largely untapped”, added Mr. Mirko Šarovic, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations, Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
The meeting was held one day before the opening of the seventh IRENA Assembly, when global energy leaders from more than 150 countries will gather to discuss IRENA’s strategic and programmatic direction to help countries accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, and in doing so, meet climate goals, boost the economy, and increase energy access and security.