Up to 500,000 MW of onshore wind potential is going untapped in southeast Europe, largely because of regulatory uncertainty.
According to trade association WindEurope, high up-front costs, soaring risks and the lack of power purchase agreements (PPAs) meant that as much as 500,000 MW of potential was not being realised, especially in Bulgaria, Greece and Romania.
“A series of abrupt and/or retroactive changes to national support schemes in the region since 2013 has resulted in additional risk premiums on projects,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said, pointing out that premiums in the region can be as much as three times higher than they are in northwest Europe.
“This means governments and consumers in the region pay a higher price for the same installations,” he added.
In order to boost investor confidence, WindEurope has called on regional governments to submit their 2030 National Energy and Climate Plans to the European Commission ahead of the end December 2019 deadline.
This would give the region’s solar industry a stable policy and regulatory framework, leading to more investment and a reduction in project costs caused by economies of scale.
Dickson also urged governments to remove the regulatory and administrative barriers that prevent industrial consumers from signing renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs).
WindEurope own figures state that PPAs across the EU in 2017 allowed such buyers to secure 1,100 MW of competitively priced wind capacity, but most of this was in northern Europe.
He said that replicating this in southeast Europe could boost investment there.
The trade body also claimed that southeast European governments needed to make their national grids fit for purpose in terms of renewables, and to make more greater efforts to support cross-border connections.
Dickson suggested they could start by identifying and submitting more priority projects to compete for EU funding under the Connecting Europe Facility.