Pleasure to talk about the UNECE Status Report and the Status of Renewable Energy worldwide
Renewable energy data for many countries exist and is being collected by renowned international organisations collectively, including the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
However, data for several member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), particularly countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, are not readily available, up-to-date, accessible or reliable. This is an obstacle for strategic energy planning in many of these countries and represents real value added for the ECE Group of Experts on Renewable Energy within the approved work plan of activities.
Recognising this, the Committee on Sustainable Energy, during its twenty-third session, invited the secretariat to prepare a Renewable Energy Status Report for the ECE Region (the Status Report) in collaboration with key partners as a tool for tracking the uptake of renewable energy in the region. In response, the Status Report is in preparation in cooperation with REN21 and IEA, to be launched in December 2015.
This activity has been conceived to fill data gaps, starting with the following 17 countries: Mandate is to carry out action-oriented, practical activities to significantly increase the uptake of renewable energy, in line with the United Nations Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. Therefore, this UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report strives to present analysis of up-to-date data and information about the status of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the selected countries of the UNECE region.
Regional collaboration overview Complementarity – GTF – Identified data gaps – not representative
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
*Pending ratification ** Applied the treaty until 2009
Very diverse region: Density ranges from 6,4 persons/km to 123,9 persons/km (Kazahkstan,Moldova) Three countries amongst coldest globally in terms of heating degree days (Kazahkstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation) It thus represents a comprehensive overview of the renewable energy infrastructure, industry, policy, regulations, market development and potential growth rates in the considered countries. The focus on the selected countries constitutes a first part of an investigation on the status of the region - a wider scope of countries in the ECE region could be considered by the Group of Experts on Renewable Energy and eventually envisioned in a future exercise with additional resources, if requested and supported by ECE member States.
The selected countries are facing a number of challenges, which could become drivers for renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment. Energy security challenges of the considered countries are key, especially in countries that are net energy importers. Power outages are an issue in some countries on seasonal basis. Electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is aging, as is district heating infrastructure, resulting in significant inefficiencies. Energy subsidies, prevalent in oil and gas exporting countries but still present also in importing countries, are detrimental to renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment as energy commodities are not priced at market prices, making renewable energy and energy efficiency comparatively very expensive. Energy intensity remains high despite notable improvements over the past two decades, both thanks to structural changes in economies and energy efficiency efforts, but further significant potential for energy efficiency remains to be exploited. Energy market structure is an issue in certain countries. Lack of liberalisation makes market entry for new players (in renewable energy or others) extremely difficult. Administrative red tape is also slowing down projects implementation across the considered countries.
The share of renewable energy sources in power generation in the considered countries differs widely from country to country.
Hydropower is the backbone of electricity systems of several focus countries. Albania, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan run their power systems almost exclusively on hydropower, while in Georgia and Montenegro hydropower represents more than half of electricity produced in the country.
However, the Russian Federation has the largest total hydropower production among the considered countries but its share in the total power generation is lower, due to the size of Russia’s power system.
Other renewable energy technologies for power generation are nascent in the selected countries, with significant deployment only in Ukraine (mostly solar photovoltaic – PV - and onshore wind). Smaller developments have happened in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia (mostly onshore wind, solar PV and biogas/biomass installations).
While rural electrification is not a burning issue for the considered countries, distributed renewable energy solutions like solar PV, small scale wind, biomass and micro-hydro can be interesting solutions for remote electricity generation and in places with power outages or unstable power.
Policies and targets constitute essential drivers for deployment of secondary regulation and attracting investment to projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The Status Report highlights some positive progress made in countries of South East Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as in the Russian Federation. Yet, there is still significant room for improvement of policies and regulations in these countries to fully unleash the available potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
All 17 countries have embarked on the promotion of renewable energy. Part of this effort is the adoption of targets and regulatory policies for renewable energy deployment. All countries have renewable energy targets. There are 2 countries that have few support policies for renewable energy, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The most common way to support renewable energy in power generation is through feed-in tariffs. Tendering and Tradable renewable energy certificates are also being used. Renewable heating and cooling is supported through mandates only in Montenegro.
In terms of energy efficiency targets and policies, all investigated countries are pursuing some type of regulatory mechanism, be it directly or through residential building initiatives.
Structural changes of the economy during the 1990s towards less energy-intensive industries contributed to the decrease in primary energy consumption per unit of GDP. All countries except for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan have established mandatory targets. There are 4 countries that don’t have any national energy efficiency awareness campaigns. Regulatory policies are spread the most in building sector, followed by lighting and appliances, transport and industry. Building standards exist in all but 2 countries.
Mandatory labelling for buildings is in place only in South-East Europe, except Albania. Lighting standards exist in 9 countries of SEE and EECCA. Mandatory labelling for lighting is in place in 6 countries. Mandatory labelling for appliances exists in 8 countries.
In the transport sector, several countries have vehicle fuel economy and emission standards. For example, Azerbaijan has put in place strict fuel efficiency standards prohibiting use of old, inefficient vehicles. Albania, Belarus, BiH, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia use energy efficiency targets for industry. The industry sector is addressed actively in Belarus and Kazakhstan with high share of industry in final energy consumption. Other instruments used in the considered countries for industry are auditing and monitoring regulations. Energy efficiency in power generation is addressed in policies of 12 countries.
The 17 countries covered by this report represent a fraction, 0.5% of the world’s total with 0.9 Billion USD in new renewable energy investment in 2014 (See Figure 10).
Renewable energy investment in the region outside large hydropower shows an erratic pattern of development over the period 2004-2014. While the total investment in 17 countries exhibited some positive signs during the period of 2008-2011 driven by growth in Eastern Europe, the past 2 years (2013 and 2014) individually showed less investment activity than in 2011. The growth in investment in South-East Europe (2014 only), Caucasus and Central Asia did not make up for the downward trend in investment activity in Eastern Europe and no investment in the Russian Federation since 2011 (See Figure 10). Overall there is a 44% decrease in investment in the region between 2011 and 2014. The region did not follow the pick-up in renewable energy investment between 2013 and 2014 that was exhibited at global level.
Data is from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Clean Energy Investment Trends and Asset Finance Records. Large hydro power projects with installed capacity above 50MW are excluded. See endnote 201 for this section.
The distribution of investment in renewable energy was heavily geared towards Ukraine during 2004-2014 (See Figure 11). The country captures around 40% (3.3 Billion USD) of the renewable energy investment in the region. Russian Federation receives around 20% (1.7 Billion USD) of the total. The remaining 40% are divided relatively equally between 11 countries.
Investment in renewable energy receives attention from both private and public sources at global level. The data from the region does not allow presenting a consistent detailed breakdown across all countries. Based on selected countries where data is available, private sector investment is concentrated in large hydro-power projects
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have more modest footprint in the region’s renewable energy investment, but are working on new projects. The World Bank committed to Armenia’s geothermal and utility scale solar projects under the Climate Investment Fund. However the expected co-financing (next to CIF core funding) of the projects remains a challenge. Ii needs to be stated once more, that stable policies and targets constitute essential drivers for deployment of secondary regulation and attracting investment to projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Investment attraction of small projects remains low and often invisible to use established financing mechanisms. Bundling of similar projects to become interesting for investors might be a possibility – other regions are affected by the same challenges.
In 2015, for the first time in history, total investment in renewable power and fuels in developing countries exceeded that in developed economies. The developing world, including China, India and Brazil, committed a total of USD 156 billion (up 19% compared to 2014). China played a dominant role, increasing its investment by 17% to USD 102.9 billion, accounting for 36% of the global total. Renewable energy investment also increased significantly in India, South Africa, Mexico and Chile. Other developing countries investing more than USD 500 million in renewables in 2015 included Morocco, Uruguay, the Philippines, Pakistan and Honduras.
By contrast, renewable energy investment in developed countries as a group declined by 8% in 2015, to USD 130 billion. The most significant decrease was seen in Europe (down 21% to USD 48.8 billion), despite the region’s record year of financing for offshore wind power (USD 17 billion, up 11% from 2014). In the United States, renewable energy investment (dominated largely by solar power) increased by 19%, the country’s largest increase since 2011.
South East and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and Russian Federation made strides into the realm of renewable energy and energy efficiency over the past two decades. Governments advanced in developing targets and policies that promote renewable energy sources present abundantly in different forms across the region. Viewed from global perspective, these developments remain marginal. Deployment of projects and investment flows need to follow so that the region catches up with the global renewable energy market development. The individual countries have an opportunity to leverage their respective energy challenges for the benefit of a more ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency vision. Energy security concerns point in the direction of local renewable sources. Access to heating in the region can be improved with the support of renewable heating applications. Though, barriers remain. The presence of energy subsidies for fossil fuels is a major impediment as renewable energy economics are not favourable in local situations.
Legal, administrative and institutional complexities delay projects’ implementation. Licencing and permitting procedures in several countries are bureaucratic, lengthy and lack transparency. The region displays limited regional coordination and integration in global activities of renewable energy promotion, in particular Sustainable Energy for All Initiative preventing it from fully leveraging the available technical know-how. Energy intensity remains high in the region with potential for energy efficiency improvements. Buildings sector carries legacy of non-efficient construction standards. Improvements in energy efficiency are driven through public buildings and residential buildings improvements.
Energy efficiency holds important potential in the region but is hampered by slow policy deployment and complexities of enforcement and monitoring for secondary legislation. Lack of or incomplete statistical data for final energy uses is detrimental to implementation of more precise monitoring measures. While a renewable energy market and industry is emerging gradually across 17 countries. For now, the existing activity builds only on sizeable hydropower and bioenergy potentials in the region.
Renewable energy continued to grow in 2014 against the backdrop of increasing global energy consumption, particularly in developing countries, and a dramatic decline in oil prices during the second half of the year.
Despite rising energy use, for the first time in four decades, global carbon emissions associated with energy consumption remained stable in 2014 while the global economy grew; this stabilisation has been attributed to increased penetration of renewable energy and to improvements in energy efficiency.
The past decade has set the wheels in motion for a global transition to renewables, but a concerted and sustained effort is needed to achieve it:
establishing and strengthening institutional, financial, legal, and regulatory support mechanisms for renewable energy deployment (through the instruments spoken about earlier) building awareness about the challenges posed by a lack of access to sustainable energy sources (DRE and the potential increasing energy access has in terms of education and health is key) Long-term and differentiated stable policy frameworks to sustain and increase investment levels (in DRE and all over the board) (Analyzing the economic side) Greater attention to the heating and cooling and the transport sector (As well as energy efficiency, especially in developed countries)
However, when looking at future projections, we have to bear in mind that past projections were often consideratly off-track. In 1997, the World Bank predicted about 6 GW of wind in China for 2020, nearly ten times of this amount was reached nearly a decade earlier with close to 60 GW installed wind capacity in China in 2011.
Key messages on the status of renewables in 17 selected countries
UNECE Renewable Energy Status
Key messages on the status of renewables in
17 selected UNECE countries
Project Manager, REN21
Paris, 11 July 2016
OECD Expert Workshop on
International Climate Finance
for the Countries in EECCA
is a multi stakeholder network dedicated
to the rapid uptake of
renewable energy worldwide.
ACORE, ARE, CEC,
CREIA, EREF, GSC,
GWEC, IGA, IHA,
Science & Academia:
IIASA, ISES, NREL, SANEDI, TERI,
WCRE, WFC, WRI,
ADB, EC, ECREEE,
GEF, IEA, IRENA,
UAE, US, UK
The UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report
• Detailled look at the status of renewable energy in select 17
countries in the UNECE region
• Part of the initiatives of the UNECE Group of Experts on
Renewable Energy (GERE) – building on existing process
• Utilisation of the established REN21 global data collection
process from formal and informal sources
• Objective to obtain a reliable data baseline for increased
• Strong Involvement of governments, international organisations
(IEA, EBRD, European Commission, World Bank, UNDP) and civil
society during data collection and review
Launched on 7 December 2015 at COP 21
• Covered countries very
diverse in terms of
social and political
• Overall population of
over 300 Million
• Density ranges from 6,4
persons/km to 123,9
• Three countries amongst
coldest globally in terms
of heating degree days
• Countries partake in
different forms of
• Several countries are facing a number of regional energy challenges:
-Energy security - seasonal power outages - aging energy infrastructure
- high energy subsidies - administrative „red tape“
• While electrification rates are high, multidimensional problems like
reliable heating and energy poverty in select communities remain
Renewable Energy for
Power, Installed Capacity
in MW, 2014
• Big variations from country
• Hydropower is backbone
• Other renewable energy
technologies are nascent,
with few regional exceptions
• Smaller developments are
beginning to pick up
RE Policy and Target
Landscape – UNECE (17)
• Positive progress has been made
• Targets are widely used and increasingly
accompanied by regulatory policies
• Still significant room for improvement
• Only few examples of regional mandatory
• Still apparent that non-economic barriers
hinder unfolding of full policy potential
EE Policy and Target
Landscape – UNECE (17)
• Energy Efficiency targets and policies are
being pursued directly or through
residential building initiatives
• Pushed by energy security concerns and
by support of international donors
• Still significant room for improvement –
especially in the industry and
Global Investment in Renewable Energy
Global new investment in
renewables estimated at
USD 286 billion in 2015
• A new record high
• Increase of 5% from
USD 328.9 billion
Investment flows in UNECE (17)
Renewable Energy Investment Overview, 2004 - 2014
• The covered countries
only represent 0.5 % of
new RE investment in
• Investment attraction
remains an issue for RE
development in the
• Downward trend in
since 2012 (in Eastern
Europe & Russia)
Investment flows in UNECE (17)
Renewable Energy Investment Overview, 2004 – 2014 – selected countries
• Investment is unevenly distributed (regionaly and by sector)
• Funding sources mainly originating in national governments,
international donors and multilateral development banks.
Developing & emerging countries:
• USD 156 billion
• Increase of 19% compared to 2014
• USD 130 billion
• Decrease of 8% compared to 2014
• South East and Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia
and Russian Federation made strides into the realm of
renewable energy and energy efficiency over the past
• Governments advance in developing targets and
policies that promote renewable energy sources
present abundantly in different forms across the
• Numerous barriers remain (energy subsidies, legal &
administrative complexities, awareness of affordability,
etc.) and delay projects implementation
• Viewed from global perspective, capacity and
investment in the covered 17 countries remain
Launched on 7 December 2015 at COP 21
Main takeaways from the global perspective:
• Establish and strengthen institutional, financial,
legal, and regulatory support mechanisms
• Long-term and stable policy frameworks, which can
adapt to changing environment, to sustain and
increase investment levels
• Greater attention to the heating and cooling and
the transport sector and “energy system thinking”
• Improve information on distributed renewable
energy markets in developing countries and
improve access to up-front finance
Launched on 7 December 2015 at COP 21
Historic Projections Fall Short…
In 1997, the World Bank predicted about 6 GW of wind in China for
2020, nearly ten times of this amount was reached nearly a decade
earlier with close to 60 GW installed wind capacity in China in 2011.
Windpower in China (GW)
World Bank (1997) - Projection
2020 Projected 2011 Actual 2014 Actual
“The future of renewable energy is fundamentally a choice.
All of the resources and technologies are there, but legislators
and governments have to choose a long-term renewables path.”
for your attention
Project Manager, REN21
Global Status Report
Regional Reports Global Futures Report www.ren21.net/map REN21