The renewables industry has been the fastest-growing segment of the energy sector in the five EU member states in Southeast Europe over the past several years, with aggregate operating revenue and net profit of the companies engaged in renewables soaring 30% year on year in 2021, according to a report by business intelligence provider SeeNext.
The total installed capacity of renewable energy facilities in the five countries – Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania and Slovenia – increased by 3.6% in the 2019-2021 period, to 32,169 MW. Solar and wind had the highest growth rates, of 8.1% and 7.2%, ending 2021 with total installed capacity of 9,165 MW and 6,589 MW, respectively.
Solar and wind capacities had the highest growth rates
Although stagnating in the observed period, hydropower made up more than half of the region’s total renewable capacity, with 17,015 MW of hydropower plants operating in the five countries. The combined capacity of biomass and biogas power plants stood at 525 MW in 2021, with geothermal facilities ending the year with 10 MW.
The report covered more than 2,500 companies in the five countries
The report, titled Renewable energy in Southeast Europe – Shifting into higher gear, covered the performance of 2,567 companies across the value chain, including those engaged in the operation, maintenance, asset management, construction, engineering or project development of renewable power plants, as well as manufacturers of batteries, engines, wind turbines, and other equipment for renewable power facilities.
Nearly 1,500 of the companies operate wind or solar power plants
They posted a combined net profit of EUR 1.7 billion for 2021 on operating revenue of EUR 12.9 billion. The bulk of the observed companies, as many as 1,489, are operators of solar and wind facilities.
Bulgaria and Romania led the way in terms of revenue growth in the renewables industry
By country, Bulgaria led the way in terms of year-on-year revenue growth in 2021, with 44%, followed by Romania, with 41%. However, Romanian companies accounted for more than half of the total operating revenue, generating some EUR 6.6 billion.
Italy is the leading investor in renewables in the region
At the end of 2022, foreign companies from 41 different countries owned about 20% of renewable energy firms in Southeast Europe. The leading source of foreign investment is Italy, which controls 16% of all foreign-owned renewable energy companies in the region, according to SeeNext. Other countries with strong presence include Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Cyprus, and Luxembourg.
Corporate PPAs for renewables could cover 5 TWh a year
The report also notes that the total annual electricity consumption in the region is close to 300 TWh, of which about 100 TWh is consumed by large commercial and industrial customers, who are increasingly seeking clean electricity for their business.
Assuming that half of their consumption could be covered through long-term corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) with renewable energy producers, with an average term of 10 years, the market size for corporate PPAs in Southeast Europe could reach as much as 5 TWh a year, according to the report.