Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia: are you ready for energy transition?

Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia: are you ready for energy transition?

Global energy transition towards 100% renewables by 2050 is a necessity if we want to meet the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement to keep planet temperature rise well below 2oC. And it was proven that such the global energy shift is technically possible and will have a lot of environmental, social and economic benefits for the world community.

But what about particular region? Is it true, that if global energy transition is possible worldwide, than for individual countries and regions it is also an option and will happen automatically? Thus why it is not happening so far? These and many other questions were raised during discussion “Energy transition towards 100% renewables in Eastern Europe: what for and how?” organized by Heinrich Boell Stiftung Ukraine and Climate Action Network for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia on November 14, 2017 in Bonn, Germany in framework of the climate conference COP 23.

Good examples of scientifically proven  data on possibility of the energy transition are available even for some particular countries of the region. For example, for Ukraine and Belarus. These countries have necessary technical potential and economic reasoning to implement energy transition and increase the share of "green" energy in the Final Energy Supply to 91% and 81% by 2050 correspondingly in accordance to studies by the State Organization “Institute for Economic and Forecasting” of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and for Belarus by the  German Aerospace Center (DLR), Department of Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment at the Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics.

“Preparing of modeling results in both countries was accompanied during these two years by close cooperation with civil society organizations, public authorities, specialized in renewables business associations and independent experts with the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation. The reason to do so was that a lot of “renewables skepticism” is present in expert and public discourses, thus we need to have scientific solid data to prove economic feasibility and technical possibility of transition towards 100% renewables”, - explained Oksana Aliieva, “Climate change and energy policy” Program coordinator at Heinrich Boell Foundation Ukraine.

As said Lasse Bruun, International Head of Global Campaign Coordination at Climate Action Network: "The energy transition study for Belarus and Ukraine adds to the pile of proof that 100% renewable energy is not only doable, but benefits the economy, the planet and the people. National and subnational leaders now have to demonstrate political leadership and urgently develop concrete and binding plans to transition to 100% renewable energy".

It is incredible, but results show that in case of the implementation of the ambitious Revolutionary Scenario involving a significant reduction in energy consumption and intensive development of RES, Final Energy Consumption in Ukraine will decrease by 27% in 2050. “This shows that saved energy resource is the cheapest “resource”, and investments in saving are more feasible than those needed to produce additional electricity and heat to meet the needs of the population and economy as a whole.” – indicated Yulia Oharenko, independent expert, advisor on energy scenarios development.

In case of Belarus, under the Reference scenario, total final energy demand increases by 42% from the current 710 PJ/a to 1010 PJ/a in 2050. In the Energy [R]evolution scenario, final energy demand decreases by 24% compared to current consumption and is expected to reach 540 PJ/a by 2050. Compared to the Reference scenario, efficiency measures in the industry, residential and service sectors avoid the generation of about 20 TWh/a.

Irina Sukhy from Belarus NGO “Ecodom” reflected on this: “Now our government makes a choice in the direction of nuclear energy, economically inexpedient and ecologically dangerous. Renewable energy development is not a priority, current plans are to increase its use by only 1% per year, that in turn will be no more than 35% by 2050. The scenario shows that Belarus has the potential to achieve a much more ambitious result, to achieve energy independence and to reduce emissions of CO2 by 85%.”

The implementation of the “energy transition” by the studies also will lead for acceleration of GDP growth and better environmental performance. For example, in Ukraine implementation of the Revolutionary scenario will result in radical reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which in 2050 might amount only to 10% of the 1990 level (or 85 mln t СО2-equivalent), which corresponds to required efforts at the global level to achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement. While in Belarus emissions of CO2 will increase by 13% between 2014 and 2050 under the Reference scenario, under the Energy [R]evolution scenario they will decrease from 55 million tons in 2014 to 8 million tons in 2050, thus by 85%.

“Development of modern renewable energy in EECCA region is very low and it will not grow without introduction of state support mechanisms, which will make it economically feasible. So, first, the governments should introduce feed-in tariff system, which can work both for businesses and for households and then international and local investments will flow”, added Irina Stavchuk, coordinator of Climate Action Network in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

The full report “Transition of Ukraine to the Renewable Energy by 2050” can be downloaded here: https://ua.boell.org/en/2017/11/07/transition-ukraine-renewable-energy-2050

The full version of the “Energy [R]evolution: a Sustainable Belarus Energy Outlook” will be published in early 2018.

For more information, please, refer to Oksana Aliieva, oksana.aliieva@ua.boell.org, Climate Change and Energy Policy Program Coordinator, Heinrich Boell Foundation Ukraine.


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