Energy Sector

Regional Energy Indicators:
Electricity Generation (TWh) 440.7
Electricity Consumption (TWh) 411.3

Energy Consumption per Capita (kgoe/cap) 1786
Energy Import Dependence (%) 61%
CO2 Emissions per Capita (kg CO2/cap) 5231
Note: kgoe – kg oil equivalent

Issues and Insights


In terms of production, transit and consumption, the Balkan energy sector is very diverse- and also has considerable future growth potential.

Larger countries, like Turkey and Romania, aim to become regional energy production and transit powerhouses, while medium-sized ones such as Bulgaria or Croatia aspire to become energy transit hubs. And smaller Balkan countries, such as Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, are still trying to forge a long-term national energy strategy. Volatile events such as the Greek debt crisis, which is forcing the country to sell off publicly held energy companies, may also result in major geopolitical changes as outside powers vie for control of pipeline routes.

While not currently a significant energy-producing region, the Balkans can conceivably become self-sufficient at very least. Renewable energy use is beginning, while fossil-fuel production from non-conventional sources – gas and oil shales, oilsands, coal beds (for coal-bed methane – CBM), etc. – has entered the discussion among the few initiated industry experts.

Although some argue that the Balkan states are mostly small energy markets, this can actually be beneficial, in that the region can avoid more developed energy markets’ past mistakes. A focus on becoming more energy-efficient, while striving for excellence in small-scale energy production and achieving energy self-sufficiency for isolated and rural areas by using local energy sources, may bring considerable benefits for the countries of the region.

Finally, the issue of regional energy cooperation has too been often misunderstood and underestimated. The existence of past mutual projects (for example, hydropower plants on the Danube), and increasing mutual efforts to develop large regional pipeline projects, and connect gas and power transmission networks, show that the Balkan governments, with the support of foreign ventures, have the will and know-how to develop the sector. Thus, the potential for regional energy-sector cooperation remains huge, and is being encouraged by dedicated regional organizations, such as the Energy Community.

Outstanding Issues

Increasing energy import dependence; obsolete power and heat generation assets; decaying or non-existent energy transportation infrastructure; limited inter-country energy network connections; aging power and heat distribution networks; relatively inefficient energy use; ever-present energy poverty.

Forward Planning: Points of Interest

  • Competing regional oil and gas pipeline projects
  • Privatization of Greek energy sector companies in regards to future energy routes, and their geopolitical results
  • The sustainable development of renewable energy sources, and of non-conventional fossil fuel sources in the region
  • The future of the nuclear power industry in the region
  • Improved energy efficiency in the region, and efforts to reduce energy poverty
  • Regional energy markets and enhanced energy cooperation