Russia among outsiders according to Renewables 2010 Global Status Report

Ekaterina Uspenskaya
A recent Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21 century http://www.ren21.net report entitled Renewables 2010. Global Status Report Renewables 2010. Global Status Report presents the newest data on global trends of renewable energy sector development worldwide.

As the report shows, renewable have made a giant leap in the past few years now providing for around a quarter of global power capacity from all sources of the world. Only in the year 2009 18% of total electrical energy was produced from renewable sources and in 2008-2009 new investment to the RE sector went over a half of total investment in energy production.

Both RE power capacity and investment in renewables are growing significantly and at a steady pace. China has reached 226 GW of RE power capacity alone. In Europe, the renewables have reached a 20% share of net energy production in 2009. Based on power capacity and investment, the list is topped by China, USA, Germany, India and Brazil. Over 100 countries have declared the goal to increase the share of renewable in their energy consumption. For instance, Brazil is going to produce up to 75% of all electricity with renewable by 2030. China’s goal is 15% RE by 2020. Having this in mind, the declared Russian goal of 1,5% by 2010 and 4,5% by 2020 in electrical energy production looks way too modest. However, the technical resource of RE in Russia is around 4,6 billion tons of fuel equivalent a year, which exceeds the country’s net energy consumption fivefold.

The report clearly reveals an obvious lack of financial mechanisms of RE development support in Russia. It is noted, that there are only 2 methods used in the country, the first one being the implementation of capital subsidies, grants and rebates (although they are currently way too far from being widespread), and the second is the recently emerged opportunity to produce tradable RE certificates.

According to the quantity of financial stimuli Russia ranks next to Ukraine and Belarus, as the country having neither energy taxes nor VAT reduction for RE producers, there are no direct finance investments, no low-interest loans are provided, and the RE market is not developing due to the lack of support for RE-related education and research and the lack of supporting standards.

On the list Russia appeared next to the least developing countries, such as Pakistan, Mongolia, Mauritius etc. It is remarkable, that even in many African Countries, i.e. In Uganda and Tanzania, not mentioning South Africa, RE development is facilitated by a whole range of diverse financial mechanisms. Obviously, in those countries, unlike in Russia, the potential provided by their existing RE recourses is not underestimated.

Russian Socio-Ecological Union has repeatedly spoken in favor of more ambitious goals for RE development in Russia (линк на страничку http://rusecounion.ru/doc_rseu) as well as for GHG emissions reduction (at least 35 % by 2020 from the 1990 level). The RE sector development goals should correspond numerically to our carbon emission reduction goals. And what is to be done urgently is to create state regulations supporting RE development and its integration into the country’s energy system.