A Buoyant Climate for Renewable Energy in Eastern Europe

Preparing for greater reliance on renewable energies is not as new a concept in Central and Eastern Europe as it appears to be in the U.S. In compliance with 2010 EU targets and in anticipation of the Russian gas crisis this winter, former communist block countries like Poland, Estonia, Bulgaria or the Czech Republic are already introducing legislation, including renewables feed-in tariffs, to generate a significant proportion of their energy consumption from home-based clean energy sources.

“Economies in transition are beginning to recognize the importance of energy independence and are thus looking to bring renewables into the energy mix,” said Marianne Osterkorn, International Director for Renewable Energy Partnership (REEEP). “As the legislative and regulatory frameworks are put into place financial risk is lowered. Recent changes in renewable energy policy is beginning attract finance into the region.” “If you look at Poland, there are currently 6,000 MW of wind in planning, while only 63 MW has been built. It’s time to attract private finance into markets such as Poland as estimates show that E 6 billion euros [USD$7.1 billion] will be required to finance the construction of those wind farms.” Germany is poised to undergo significant changes in terms of financing and funding renewable projects. To maintain its leading position in the world market, German renewable companies realize already a significant amount of their turnover is in emerging export markets. Coming in the wake of a major Government energy strategy summit, planned by the office of the newly elected German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leading international investment banks and finance experts will gather in Berlin for the first large-scale renewable energy finance forum focusing on Central and Eastern Europe. The Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF) in the Berlin Hilton Hotel on the 13th and14th of March, takes place at a crucial time for the future of central European energy security. “According to the International Energy Agency the breathtaking figure of $16 trillion will be invested in the energy sector until 2030. Due to skyrocketing oil prices, the need to reducing the dependence on foreign fossil fuel imports and national security considerations, investments will have to go more and more into smart renewable energy technologies,” said Christian Unger, Head of Energy at Bank of Austria.

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