Caucasus, Central Asian countries need to accelerate growth in renewables – UNECE

Energy Materials 26 September 2022 17:08
Baku, Azerbaijan Trend News Agency
Caucasus, Central Asian countries need to accelerate growth in renewables – UNECE

Despite breakthrough progress in renewables, the countries of South-East and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia continue to depend heavily on fossil fuel sources and rely on a limited number of energy exporters, especially the Russian Federation, Trend reports with reference to the UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report 2022.

According to the report, 13 of the countries are highly dependent on energy imports, with 4 countries – Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Moldova – importing more than 70 percent of their total primary energy supply. Renewables could help countries diversify their energy supply and protect against fluctuating natural gas and oil prices.

Large subsidies for fossil fuels and low tariffs for fossil and nuclear based energy hinder rapid deployment of renewables across all sectors. Although the size of energy subsidies as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has declined in all the focus countries, it was still significant in 2020, especially in Uzbekistan (6.6 percent), Turkmenistan (3.2 percent), Kazakhstan (2.6 percent) and Azerbaijan (2.4 percent).

“Renewable energy growth in the region through 2021 was driven mainly by favourable policies and by the falling costs of renewable energy technologies – but now, energy security is absolutely at the forefront. Moving away from fossil fuel has never been as vital for the region,” said Rana Adib, REN21 Executive Director.

“With the UN climate talks (COP27) only a few months away, countries and investors in the UNECE region must urgently redouble their commitments to renewables deployment to achieve global net zero targets and end fossil fuel dependency,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova. “This action is also vital to help countries get on track to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to speed the transition to resilient energy systems. Scaling up renewables investment is crucial to strengthen energy security and affordability in light of the energy and financial shocks related to the conflict in Ukraine."