South East Europe – also known as the Balkans – comprises the countries Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Moldovia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia.
Collectively, South East Europe still represents a significant proportion of untapped European hydropower potential as its river catchments have remained largely undeveloped. Up to 30% of the region’s rivers remain in near natural or pristine states and have a very high conservation value. The region has an estimated 80,000 GWh of technical potential, which is concentrated in the mountainous regions of Montenegro and Albania as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2016, the European Union commissioned a regional hydropower masterplan for the region, aiming to define how to develop the hydropower potential in a way that balances energy generation, flood protection and ecological concerns. This plan also strengthens regional cooperation between the European Union and especially the Western Balkan countries.
Albania already derives 95% of its domestically produced electricity from hydropower, Bosnia and Herzegovina 31.3%, Serbia 27.5% and Montenegro 31%, respectively.
Serbia has some 3,018 MW of currently operational hydropower plant capacity. Over two-thirds of this capacity is concentrated near to the border with Romania. The country boasts an undeveloped potential of 17,600 GWh, focused on the Drina and Danube rivers. Romania has the highest installed hydropower capacity of all the countries within the region, as well as the biggest economically feasible hydropower potential.