Gas-powered Russia could (and should) double its share of renewables by 2030

Russia is not known for its sunshine. Nor for its renewable energy supply (which is dominated by hydro). Russia’s energy strategy calls for less than 5% of it electricity needs to be met by renewables by 2030. Germany, by comparison, is aiming for 45% and the U.S for 20%.

A new report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests Russia could more than double its goal and meet 11.3% of its energy needs with renewables by 2030.

How? By enhancing its electric grid, integrating new technologies and exporting excess capacity to address variability. The plan includes doubling its solar target from 2.6 gigawatts to 5 gigawatts, particularly in southern regions like Dagestan and Altai. Decentralizing the power supply could boost electricity to isolated regions.

What’s holding it back: the low cost of natural gas in Russia, which is second only to the U.S. in natural gas production. Unclear national and state regulatory frameworks have also stifled private investment. As in the U.S. and Europe, climate concerns and reduced greenhouse gas emissions need not be the only drivers. The IRENA report suggests investments in renewables will stimulate the economy, create jobs, boost science and technology, supply energy to isolated areas and improve environmental quality.

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha's daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Ibtimes.co.uk

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