In its report, Renewable Energy Regulations in Central and Eastern Europe – Strategic Analysis, Frost & Sullivan discusses how the threat of Russia cutting off energy supplies and the looming burden of the EU’s 2020 targets for renewable energy is spurring CEE to look at renewable energy.

“As CEE countries take on the challenge of developing their indigenous energy sources, companies are currently experiencing first-mover advantages that could place them ahead of the curve,” Frost & Sullivan says.

EU spurs renewable energy

Industry Analyst Guori Kumar, says: “The EU Directive for 2020 is pushing renewable energy markets in Europe, especially in the CEE region as it has not been traditionally focusing on the sector except for large hydropower for electricity, and biomass energy for heat.

“This is impelling CEE countries to review their energy portfolios and develop a strategy to achieve those targets in the most efficient way.”

Kumar believes the EU’s 2020 target is “the most significant driver for the CEE countries”, coupled with energy security issues.

High renewable energy potential countries

Five EU countries – Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania – and the non-EU country Turkey, could see high growth in their renewable energy markets in coming years.

The forecasted growth is based on good incentive structure for renewable energy, growing demand, relatively investor-friendly environments and encouraging governments.

Medium-growth potential

The medium growth countries for renewable energy include Latvia, Slovakia and Slovenia. They have “some good motivating factors”, Frost & Sullivan says, but they are held back by “lack of political will, uncertain support, and long cumbersome planning processes.”

Overcoming challenges

Kumar says the challenges to renewable energy implementation in CEE countries are having less and less of an impact as several governments have started to address the issues. “It is moving slower than expected but the efforts are translating into growth in many sectors including the wind and solar energy markets,” Kumar explains.

Improvements include bettering the regulatory framework, installation of new renewable energy projects providing a foundation for the market to thrive on.

“As a result, the CEE region is becoming lucrative for investors as markets in Western Europe grow rapidly and mature,” Frost & Sullivan says.

The report consists of 19 country profiles including 11 EU countries, two candidate countries and 6 non-EU countries.