Renewable energy sources will be the key to the global economic recovery, especially after the crisis that followed the coronavirus pandemic. New EU funds and growing investments in this direction are a clear sign of a sustainable future that is closer than we think. Indeed, renewable power has shown impressive progress over the last decade: as technologies become increasingly mature, they started to take larger shares in the global markets, also resulting in large reductions in generation costs.
Despite not currently exploiting their huge renewable potential, the Western Balkans could be of help for Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Overall, in Central and Eastern Europe, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates the share of renewables to show a growth over the next decade, from 16 per cent in 2015 to 24 per cent in 2030.
In the upcoming webinar, co-organised with Invest In Network on 24 February, we are going to discuss two countries in particular: North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The first has a plan to reach a 50 per cent share of renewables in electricity production, a quite ambitious target considering that the country relies predominantly on fossil fuels and it is dependent on electricity imports. In 2015, the total renewable installed power generation capacity was 716 megawatts (MW) but IRENA expects this number to grow to 3,311 MW by 2030. On the other hand, BiH starts from a better position with 2,074 MW of renewable capacity installed (almost entirely thanks to hydropower) with an expectation to reach 5,213 MW by 2030.
Whether these targets and figures are ambitious enough is something to pay particular attention to, as most of them were prepared before the 1.5 degrees scenario published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
During the webinar, Petya Icheva, Programme Officer for South-East Europe at IRENA and Andi Aranitasi, Head of North Macedonia at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will give us an overview of the energy industry in the region, with a special focus on North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They will share data, forecasts based on the current measures adopted. They will also discuss the challenges to overcome so to enhance regional cooperation. Zoran Obradović, Managing Director of wpd Adria, the Balkan-based subsidiary of German renewable energy company wpd and owner of a very large portfolio of renewable energy sources in the region will explain the process of investing in these countries, building up from successful stories from neighbouring ones. Moreover, he will focus on the potential of hybrid parks that combine solar and wind energy.