Investments in the “green” energy head all the records. Russia is aside, but perspectives are there

Olga Podosenova

In 2011, investments in the renewable energy amounted to the record $257 bln, UN report says. - Renewable energy gets cheaper and cheaper, experts from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) claim. In Russia share of renewable energy is still less then 1 %.

Reputed scholars’ conclusions contest the broadly spread opinion that modern ecologically clean energy is far too expensive for broad implementation. Thus, by IRENA’s data, production cost of the solar cell array energy went 60% down in only the few last years. Production costs of other types of renewable energy are also going down, including that for wind mills, hydro power plants, solar thermal energy concentrators and green fuel.

“One of the myths supported by industrial lobbyists is the exorbitant price of renewable energy (RE), IRENA Director Adnan Amin told. “The figures show the opposite. Expenses go down in geometrical progression and the alternative energy keeps getting cheaper. Even today, ecologically clean energy production can compete with many traditional technologies of fossil fuels exploitation.”
No surprise that along with the process of RE cheapening, investments into alternative energy are growing and have reached $260 bln in 2011.

For example, thanks to enhanced demand on the solar energy in Germany, Italy, China and Great Britain, the annual investment growth in these countries amounted to 52%.

Authors of the UN Report specifically pointed at the investment growth in the developing countries’ renewable energy. “For the first time, developing countries overcame the developed ones in “green” investments and the volume of the renewable energy market.” Altogether, developing countries had received $72 billion dollars of “green” investments compared to the $70 billion dollars in the developed countries. In 2004, this index for the developing countries amounted to one fourth of the developed countries’ one,” the document stressed.

Besides the obvious benefits of additional renewable energy production from, this will allow to create no less than four million new jobs in the manufacturing sector in rural regions of the developing countries,” international experts claim.

It is said in the IEA Report that by 2035, with support of carbon emissions fees quota of the renewable energy could be raised up to 10% of the total primary energy demand. Per each dollar not spent on reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions in the energy production until 2010, after this date, $4.3 will have to be paid on compensation of the previous inactivity.

Russia is present in the Report as a major gas exporter but already not a major oil market player: its resources are estimated at 4% of the world capacities. Growth of renewable energy production by 2035 is expected at 1.6% only.

However, national experts are more optimistic. “Renewable energy technology development might lead to a boom of the “green energy” in Russia in 2015-2020,” Vasily Belov, Executive Director of the Skolkovo Energy Efficiency Cluster, said at the round table on ecology and sustainable development under the frames of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

"I believe that renewable energy technology improvement will make alternative energy economically efficient already by 2015-2020; in its turn, this will hasten active development of RE in Russia," Belov said.
However, so far the RE realities in Russia look as following: development of the “green energy” is restrained by dishonest competitiveness between state and private companies and subsiding of fossil energy sources and state energy concerns.

Report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) you can find at
http://www.irena.org/home/index.aspx?PriMenuID=12&mnu=Pri# -
UN Report: http://www.unep.org/publications/contents/pub_details_search.asp?ID=6269
IEA Report: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/