Emerging Eastern European nations are cutting back on their reliance on thermal power and trying to incorporate a greater share of renewables into their energy mix, according to a new report.

Energy industry analysts US-based GBI Research state that Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania are trying to lower their use of power from fossil fuels, which is becoming less available and in turn more expensive.

GBI predicts that cumulatively the total installed capacity of these countries will climb from a 49 906 MW in 2011 to 65 989 MW by 2020, with renewable and nuclear energy taking a substantial share of this figure.

Last year, thermal energy accounted for 53.5 per cent of the total installed capacity of these markets, which the report says will drop to 44.5 per cent by 2020.

In 2011, renewable and nuclear power represented shares of 5.3 per cent and 13.8 per cent respectively, and these contributions are expected to rise to 12.8 per cent and 17.2 cent by the end of this decade.

Bulgaria is expected to dominate renewables in the region. From a 2012 installed capacity of 435 MW, it will expand to 2672 MW by 2020.

This growth has come about because of directives such as the Renewable Energy Act and the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Credit Line, and the government’s target of producing 18 per cent of its energy via renewables by 2020.

GBI predicts the second biggest growth nation for renewables will be Lithuania, followed by Romania.