$3 Trillion Investment Needed for Eastern Europe & Central Asia

According to a report from the World Bank entitled: Lights Out? The Energy Outlook in Eastern Europe and the Central Asia, the region as a whole will face an energy crunch unless investments of more than $3 trillion are made over the next 20 years.

“The demand for primary energy in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region is expected to increase by 50 percent by 2030,” said Peter Thomson, Director for Sustainable Development in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia region, “while the demand for electricity is expected to increase by 90 percent.”

Before to current financial crisis the region was beginning to suffer serious shortages in supply, causing grave concern for its continued growth and security, but with the region being hit hard by the financial crisis, this led to a significant dampening energy demand.

This drop in demand created some welcome breathing room, but World Bank report claims this is only a temporary respite before energy availability again becomes a serious concern. Once growth picks back up, so, too, will energy consumption.

The report encourages investment in energy efficiency, which achieves three goals, simultaneously and at least cost: lower greenhouse gas emissions, better energy security, and more sustainable economic growth.

According to the report, an additional $1 invested in energy efficiency may avoid more than $2 in production investment.

But much potential remains untapped because of the many obstacles to investments in energy efficiency, including inadequate energy prices and lack of payment discipline, a lack of information on the latest technologies, too few contractors and service companies, and financing constraints.

Governments have a major role to play in energy efficiency, not only in allowing energy tariffs to reflect costs, but by being proactive in setting and updating energy efficiency standards and in enforcing them.

The report recommends that to set an example, governments should undertake energy efficiency programs in the public sector and inform the public on energy efficient technology options.

Tuesday 23rd March 2010

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