Energy security in SEE

Our view on the energy security in South East Europe

Multidisciplinary approach is becoming more and more important in tackling energy-related issues. With increased geopolitical instability, surge of low-carbon solutions and a realisation that energy sources are crucial for economic growth, the topic of energy security raises global concerns.

Energy sector transformation

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Understanding the world in which we live in requires understanding the importance of energy. All that surrounds us is energy.  Energy sector is the very backbone of each economy. It is the cost of energy that determines the competitiveness of a county’s industry while the amount of energy a person spends determines its standard of living. Facilitated by a sting of factors, the energy sector is experiencing fundamental changes. Instead of simply considering techno-economic issues, the emphasis is now put on four main problem areas: technology, economy, environment and geopolitics. Because of changes in principles of understanding development and a much stronger focus on environmental protection issues, technologically or economically optimal solutions are often not best suited for the preferred development of a sector as a whole. Multidisciplinary approach is becoming more and more important in tackling energy-related issues. Considering the fact that the energy sector is the world’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it is also expected to make the biggest cuts regarding its reduction. Among other, this calls for implementing various low-carbon technologies in the electricity generating process . The biggest concern, globally, are forecasts of temperature increases that might, potentially, have a significant, negative influence on the quality of life. The quest upon which the energy sector embarked searches affordable, safe and sustainable solutions to energy related issues.

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Energy security in South East Europe: A view of 2020

Looking at the present state regarding the energy sector, one can see that it is no longer an oasis of peace in the turbulent times the economy has been facing during the past couple of years. Electricity consumption declined, power plants are being closed, profit margins are slimmer and risk is now considerably more diversified. With key issues revolving around different problem areas not directly related to simple techno-economic feasibility, the importance of taking a multidisciplinary view on forming development strategies proves crucial. Making well-informed decisions reflecting on the aspects underpinning energy markets is now more than ever key in forming strategies and action-plans able to fuel growth and provide for the optimal development of the energy sector towards the goal of achieving an affordable, safe and sustainable sector. The presented paper aims to build upon previously conducted research and provide insight on the current status and potential progress of the energy sectors of South East Europe.

Future projection & case studies

SEE is a rather specific region with uneven regulatory and market conditions. It has been characterised with processes of reorganisation and restructuring [20]. Adoption of the EU acquis communautaire is seen as a stepping stone towards the creation of a framework able to attract investment and fuel growth, as having a stable regulatory framework is prerequisite for achieving financing. Efficient regulatory practice is achieved by clear definition of roles, responsibilities and relationships between market participants. At present, not all countries have made noticeable progress in the field of restructuring [21]. While a number of countries are EU member states, there are some that have still got a great deal of work ahead of them in order to achieve satisfactory conditions. There are a couple of notable difficulties in developing projects in the region [22]. First, most of the countries are perceived to carry high country risk and have either unsatisfactory or unstable regulatory frameworks. Second, competitiveness is often low having and there is a significant chance of having to deal with unpredictable difficulties. Projects everywhere encounter risks related to technical, economic and environmental issues. When issues specific to the SEE region are added into the equation, achieving a successful project becomes significantly more difficult.

Despite the fact that changes in the generation portfolio of the SEE region are occurring at rapid pace, one thing is certain – hydro and lignite continue to dominate the production mix. Fuel oil power plants have lost the market battle and natural gas units have a hard time in achieving decent working hours. Overall production is rising. Keeping in mind the incursion of renewables and predicted increase of electricity demand, it seems safe to assume that this trend of growth will remain stable in the years to come, as well. tThe following figure shows production by types of technology in SEE for the period between 2005 and 2015.

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