"The secret of success is to know something nobody else knows"

Aristotle Onassis

Meeting: February 24, 2021: BREC Gas and Renewables emerging market series: Hydrogen and Renewables Strategy — implications and opportunities for the countries of South-East Europe (SEE)

The last interactive discussion of the Brussels Energy Club addressed the topic of:


"BREC Gas and Renewables emerging market series:

Hydrogen and Renewables Strategy — implications and opportunities for the countries of South-East Europe (SEE)"


The meeting took place online via zoom video conference on Wednesday, 24 February 2021, 12-2pm Central European (Brussels) Time


Special welcome and introduction from:  

Marat Terterov

Founder of the Brussels Energy Club  



Ana StanicAna Stanič

Founder and Director at E&A Law Limited,

Member of BREC Advisory Board  







With special guest discussion openers: 

Julian BowdenJulian Bowden

Oxford Institute of Energy Studies (OIES)








Gorazd AzmanGorazd Ažman

Assistant Director of the Strategic Innovation Department

ELES — Electricity Transmission System Operator Slovenia







Peter Poptchev

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







On 11 December last year, 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%. In order for this target to be achieved, the European Commission in Brussels 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.


Renewables in South East Europe (SEE) and the challenge ahead

  • 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. 


We look forward to seeing you online on February 24 for another lively meeting of the Brussels Energy Club.


Program for 24 February 2021: 12:00 — 14:00 hours

  • Online arrival, virtual welcome and introduction of speakers and guests
  • Setting out the debate by the Brussels Energy Club
  • 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

Meeting remains open for free-flowing online, B-to-B and B-to-G networking and exchange of zoom chat messages, both private and for the whole group

Brussels Energy Club will make all efforts to facilitate networking opportunities for participants.


Speaker information 

Ana Stanič is an English Solicitor Advocate and an Honorary Lecturer at the Technische Universität in Berlin and UIBE in China. She is the founder of E&A Law Limited, an innovative law firm which combines energy specialism with expertise in EU law, international law and arbitration. In particular she advises on the transactional, EU regulatory and dispute resolution aspects of energy projects. She is currently advising on States and companies on the EU Green Deal, Next Generation EU and the proposed changes to EU energy legislation including regarding hydrogen and energy sector integration. Amongst her many other affiliations and non-executive roles, she is a Board Member of the Brussels Energy Club Advisory Board, having formerly been a Club Member as a Global Energy Associate.

Julian Bowden worked for BP in many planning, strategy and business development roles in both the downstream oil and gas businesses.  Overseas experience included postings to the BP offices in Moscow and Brussels.  Before he left BP at the end of 2018, he was heavily involved in the planning and other business development work around creating the southern gas corridor for Azerbaijan"s Shah Deniz field.  He is now attached to the Oxford Energy Institute OIES which has published his paper on gas in SE Europe at the end of 2019. He is currently writing a paper on renewables in SEE region.

Gorazd Ažman is the Assistant Director for Strategic Innovation at ELES, the Electricity Transmission System Operator Slovenia. He is responsible for international energy trading, risk management, digitalization and business models evaluation and development. He covers initiatives and projects related to coupling of power with the gas sector within the ELES. His current position sees him fostering transformation of the energy sector through digital innovation and encouraging coworkers to embrace innovation. Before joining ELES, he was the Financial Director at GEOPLIN, Slovenia"s largest gas trading company, where he was responsible for finance, controlling, risk management, M&A and strategic projects.

Peter Poptchev, PhD held rank-and-file and Head of Mission postings in Lagos, Geneva (Disarmament), Brussels (NATO), Dublin and Vienna (UN, OSCE, IAEA). He successfully chaired several important multilateral negotiations; and represented his country in EU and NATO formats. He was appointed Bulgaria"s first Ambassador-at-large for energy security and climate change, and also acted as advisor to four successive ministers of economy and energy. As the author of books and articles, Ambassador Poptchev, now retired, consults on foreign and security policy. Further, he recently founded the NET ZERO Foundation — International Climate Network.


Further information and participation

Registration is required for participation in this online meeting. Participation is free of charge for members and special guests of the Brussels Energy Club. A meeting ID and password required to enter the meeting will be sent to all registered participants on the evening of Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

Please contact us on info@brusselsenergyclub.org for more information or in the event that you would like to register your participation.


You could find video summary here.