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Hydrogen and Renewables Strategy in South-East Europe (SEE)

Gas and Renewables in Emerging Market Series

24 February 2021, 12-2 PM CET

Zoom video conference

On 11 December 2020, EU leaders agreed on a more ambitious climate change target for 2030 — to cut greenhouse gases to 55% instead of the previous target of 40%. For this target to be achieved, the European Commission says that by 2030 the share of renewable energy in the EU's gross energy consumption must increase to 38-40%, the penetration of renewables in heating and cooling is to reach 40%, as well as 24% in transport. The Renewable Energy Directive is set to be reviewed in June 2021 and new renewable targets set in order to ensure that these more ambitious climate change targets can be achieved. All of this is set to have important implications for the energy transition in wider Europe, including the South East European (SEE) countries.

  • SEE countries lying south of Hungary and Romania, including Greece, have weather and climate features similar or identical to the other Southern European countries. This makes them, in principle, ideal for larger scale PV projects capable of sustaining green/clean Hydrogen production.

  • How each SEE country will achieve renewable targets will differ as their current energy mix environment differs from one another.

  • A common feature of the SEE countries is that lignite is an important part of their energy mix.

  • The green hydrogen and renewables potential of South East Europe is beyond doubt. SEE could become a production hub for green hydrogen and this in turn could boost growth and create jobs.

  • However, hydrogen is grossly underestimated in the current national integrated energy and climate plans of the EU member states in SEE, and is practically non-existent in the plans of the parties of the Energy Community Treaty.

  • Renewables and hydrogen projects face challenges in SEE due to (i) size of national markets, (ii) lack of cross-border co-operation, (iii) problems with economies of scale and (iv) lack of available financing.

  • There are a series of technical, financial, market, legal, insurance, diplomatic and perhaps geopolitical issues to be overcome.

  • The EU, the EIB, and private capital interests will have to join forces with local governments and companies, chart the business cycle, raise the capital needed, etc.

All of these issues and challenges will be discussed in this interactive panel. We will also discuss how companies in the region are addressing them.


  • SEE's legacy, challenges and ways to overcome,  Julian Bowden, Oxford Institute of Energy Studies

  • TSOs view of the challenges and opportunities, Gorazd Ažman,  Assistant Director of the Strategic Innovation Department, ELES (Electricity Transmission System Operator Slovenia)

  • The geopolitical and other issues facing renewables in SEE, Peter Poptchev, Ambassador (R), President and CEO of NET ZERO Foundation, International Climate Network

  • Roundtable discussion with members and guests of the Brussels Energy Club

Recording of the meeting presentations:


Download PDF • 200KB

Peter Poptchev_Speaking Notes_BREC_Hydrogen & RES in SEE 240221
Download PDF • 262KB


Founder and Director at E&A Law Limited, Member of BREC Advisory Board

Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES)

Assistant Director of the Strategic Innovation Department

ELES — Electricity Transmission System Operator Slovenia

Peter Poptchev Ambassador (R) President and CEO of NET ZERO Foundation — International Climate Network



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