SEE countries move at varied speeds in grid modernisation, energy storage

Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia already comply with the EU’s 2030 target for 15% grid interconnection compared to installed power, but the expected flurry of capacity additions, especially in terms of renewable energy, necessitates new projects to avoid clogs. Individual country plans in that regard seem encouraging but there are significant discrepancies at the regional level.

These varied speeds of development are even more evident when it comes to another renewables hot topic – energy storage. While the bulk of the countries in the report have indicated plans on installing energy storage capacities in the years leading up to 2030, there are no clear commitments and timeframes, especially in the case of battery storage.

These are the main conclusions of the most recent industry report by business intelligence and news provider SeeNext. It includes an in-depth analysis of the progress made by each of the countries toward the integration of energy storage solutions and modernisation of the grid, an overview of recently installed new capacities, a rundown of significant investments and a regulatory update.

Powering up the grid by 2030

Encouragingly, all countries in the report have recognised the need of not only modernising their electrical grids but also adding new lines and enhancing interconnectivity with neighbouring countries. Announced planned investments range between EUR 800 mln in Serbia and Croatia to over EUR 5 bln in Greece. While there are projects aimed at boosting interconnections, these significant discrepancies in the size of designated investments point towards disparities that could result in clogs and jeopardise infrastructure stability at the regional level.

Storing energy for the green transformation

The majority of the SEE countries already have experience with energy storage through pumped storage hydropower facilities and there are plans for the construction of more, supported by the region’s abundant water resources. Three countries in the report have earmarked significant investments for further capacities, both pumped and battery storage – Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. The other three – Croatia, Slovenia and Romania have either announced marginal investments or none at all.

Yet, there are various issues even in the case of the more ambitious proposals. Bulgaria, for example, has been criticised by the European Commission for having too generic objectives and the lack of specific timeframes. The country has the chance to make significant improvements in the newest version of its National Energy and Climate Plan. Greece, on the other hand, has already published an updated version of the plan in which it dialed down energy storage targets. Serbia is mostly focused on pumped hydro storage for now.

Solar is king

Coming back to present days, the most recent full-year data on newly installed capacities show that solar was the prevalent green energy source in all but one of the analysed countries. Croatia was the only market where wind prevailed in 2022. In terms of installed capacities, Greece and Romania led the way, with 14 GW and 11.2 GW, respectively.

Download the full report here.

BulgariaCroatiaenergyEUGreecegrid connectionrenewable energyRomaniaSEESeeNextSerbiasolarstoragewind
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