South East Europe has “vast technical renewable energy potential” of 740 gigawatts (billion watts), and about 127 GW of that potential is cost-competitive today, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) ahead of its annual assembly this week in Abu Dhabi.
“The report says this figure could rise further, to above 290 GW, if more favourable cost of capital is considered for the region,” Thomson Reuters’ Zawya news service notes.
“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 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.”
The report was released at a high-level meeting of South East European countries, where Amin committed to “continue supporting governments across SEE to harness untapped renewable energy potential and accelerate their deployment.”
In the meeting communiqué, the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, and Serbia committed to accelerate renewable energy development and tackle the barriers to faster deployment.
“They noted that increasing deployment and continued technological innovation have led to sharp cost reductions and improved cost-effectiveness, particularly for solar photovoltaic and wind energy,” the communiqué states. “They also recognized 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.”
The governments agreed to step up mapping of solar and wind resources, conduct market analysis for faster deployment, raise awareness of the socio-economic benefits of renewable energy, support an ongoing transition to market-based support schemes, develop technical, regulatory, and operational capacity to integrate renewables with grid operations, and facilitate projects’ access to financing.