Overcoming barriers for renewable energy deployment in the Western Balkans: The case of North Macedonia and Serbia

Europe in transition



North Macedonia and Serbia are working on aligning their energy and climate goals with those of the EU, in line with their obligations towards the Energy Community, which means reaching a carbon-neutral society and increasing the share of renewables (RES) in their energy mix. However, both countries face challenges due to a historical dependency on fossil fuels, predominantly coal, for their energy needs and a legacy of lower electricity prices than those in the EU.


Despite the pledge of North Macedonia to decarbonise, the energy crisis prompted it to stick to its domestic thermal power plant capacities. Hydro energy dominates RES projects in North Macedonia. Even though there is a promising recent increase in photovoltaic (PV) installations, there is not sufficient support for prosumers, energy communities, and vulnerable citizens.


Hydro energy and wind power dominate RES projects in Serbia, although there has been a very significant increase in installed prosumer PV capacities recently. The Government of Serbia has also started to implement ambitious plans to install multiple gigawatts (GWs) of RES capacities in wind and solar (PV) energy in the country. However, energy communities, energy vulnerable citizens, and subsidies for RES prosumer capacities still suffer from overly complex and lengthy procedures in Serbia. In North Macedonia, RES projects also face complex and opaque administrative procedures, with the grid connection procedure taking the longest time. The grid capacity in North Macedonia is insufficient to meet the needs of the energy transition, but also not adequately researched. Grid balancing is also an issue in Serbia, which is why the Government aims to incentivise utility-scale project developers to also invest into energy storage.









Access the policy brief in English here








Frosina Antonovska
Climate and Energy Policy Officer for the Western Balkans
Eleonora Allena
Communication Coordinator for the Western Balkans and Turkey



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