Energy consumption in the European Union (EU) member states in South East Europe is seen flat until 2040, with a significant decrease of coal, while consumption in non-EU countries and Turkey is set to rise by 40% and 50% respectively, but the use of coal is seen remaining the same. Both groups are facing greater energy security threats than the rest of Europe, according to the South East Europe Energy Outlook 2021/2022, produced by the Institute for Energy for South-East Europe (IENE).
The third edition of the South East Europe Energy Outlook, previously published in 2011 and 2017, was presented in Belgrade, at an event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia. The 2021/2022 edition brings data on 15 countries; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, as well as Israel and Hungary, which were not included in the 2017 report.
Stambolis: energy security is now everything
IENE has applied a regional approach because SEE, due to its history, cultural background, and current urban and industrial setting, constitutes a region, both geographically and geopolitically, and has a strong impact on the rest of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, according to Costis Stambolis, Chairman and Executive Director of IENE.
Stambolis said the three pillars of the EU energy policy are competitiveness, sustainability, and security of supply, but he noted that the last one had been neglected by decision makers, making the EU totally dependent on Russia.
Now, energy security is everything: either you have energy or you don’t, he stressed.
A balanced energy mix is the best long-term option
Because of its geography, its proximity to high-risk conflict zones (i.e. Syria, Iraq, Ukraine), the refugee flow from the Middle East and North Africa, and the location of some of its countries (i.e. Turkey, Greece, Romania) at vital energy supply entry points, the South East Europe region faces greater energy security threats than the rest of Europe.
Short- to medium-term solutions for achieving energy security are the strengthening of emergency and solidarity mechanisms and the maintenance of adequate oil, coal and gas stocks. Achieving a balanced energy mix constitutes the best long-term option at both the national and the regional level.
EU members to stick to nuclear, non-EU countries to coal
South East Europe Energy Outlook 2021/2022 projects that the gross inland consumption in the EU member states of the SEE – Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Slovenia – will stabilize by 2040.
The decrease in the use of coal is evident and is on the way to reaching a minimum level by 2040, while the share of oil products is seen declining. Renewable energy and nuclear energy are forecast to increase their share, the report reads.
These countries will remain net importers, but the import dependency will be reduced between 2020 and 2030 and then stabilized at a level close to 42%. Crude oil and oil products are expected to cover the majority of imports (68% in 2040).
Renewables’ share is set to rise by 70% in the Western Balkans
A completely different result is projected for consumption in the six Western Balkan countries: Albania, BiH, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, Stambolis said. It is expected to grow by almost 40% between 2015 and 2040, but the same amount of coal will be used, with a small decrease in its share in overall consumption.
Natural gas is an emerging fuel with a constant gradual increase, as crude oil and oil products are seen increasing by 45%. Renewable energy is projected to grow by 70%, but still accounting for only 20% of the total consumption, according to the outlook.
The Western Balkans will remain a net importer of energy, with its import dependency increasing to 42% in 2040, from 33% in 2015. Similar to the EU countries in the region, crude oil and oil products are projected to make up the largest part of imports.
Consumption in Turkey is expected to rise by 50%
In Turkey, consumption is projected to increase by more than 50% between 2020 and 2040. According to Stambolis, the increase is driven by economic development and the rise in population.
The role of renewable energy is seen increasing notably, reaching 28% in 2040, while the contribution of coal is on the way down, to 23% in 2040, and the contribution of natural gas is projected to decrease to 17%, the outlook reads. However, the country is not expected to reduce the amount of coal burned.
Also speaking at the event were Miloš Mladenović, CEO of SEEPEX, Miroslav Lutovac, advisor to the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, professor Dragan Simeunović from the Faculty of Political Sciences, and Constantinos Theofylaktos, Secretary General of IENE, with Mihailo Mihailović as the moderator.