Crimea has “considerable potential to develop generation of alternative energy such as solar and wind power,” a report published Monday by Information Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS) states.
This report comes just one day after electricity supply lines from Ukraine to Crimea experienced rotating blackouts after two incidents on the lines, as explained by Crimea’s energy company.
Crimea is one of the best areas in the Black Sea region–and was one of the best regions in Ukraine–for constructing wind power stations, along with other locations on the Black Sea’s shores, according to international environmental organization Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS).
Although currently Crimea depends on Ukraine for 80 percent of the peninsula’s electricity, the region is already realizing a plan to transition towards environmentally friendly energy, the ITAR-TASS report states. Crimea already has seven wind power plants, managed by four companies, and four photovoltaic plants. Crimea was home to the Soviet Union’s first industrial wind power plant in the 1930s. The plant was the world’s largest, but was destroyed in 1942. Crimea’s four PV plants have a total capacity of 227.5 milliwatts. The plants were constructed between 2010 and 2012.
According to Mercom Capital Group, LLC CEO Raj Prabhu, the current crisis in Crimea highlights the need for energy independence. Mercom, which forecasts global solar photovoltaic markets, has increased its market forecast for 2014 7 percent, representing a 23 percent growth rate on 2013 levels.
“Energy security is a key reason for governments around the world to review their energy generation mix and invest in domestic solar and other renewables,” Prabhu stated.
Much of the growth in PV production has resulted from the ambitions of China, a main trading partner of Russia. China has set a goal of transforming its energy market by installing 8 GW of distributed generation and deploying 14 GW this year, and Pradhu expects the nation will be able to deploy at least 13 GW.
At the most recent EU meeting in Brussels, too, note was made of clean energy. Europe’s reliance on Russia for 25 percent of its energy needs and the recent developments in Crimea dominated the conversation.
“A clean energy system is Europe’s best bet for climate protection, energy independence, security of supply and affordable energy prices,” said Greenpeace EU Energy Policy Adviser Frederic Thoma, who also said that as long as Europe fails to move forward on clean energy policies in meaningful ways, European money will continue to run into the hands of Russian and Saudi oligarchs.
The EU meeting was the first debate the organization has held on a framework for Europe’s 2030 climate and energy policy. Many participants called for a focus on how to reduce Europe’s high dependency on Russia in order to “make Europe stronger as a whole.” The group also commented on Russia’s situation. Although Europe receives a quarter of its gas from Russia, Russia’s Gazprom receives half of its revenues from Europe. The group also noted that dependence on Russia was already declining: in 2003, 45 percent of the EU’s gas was imported from Russia; in 2012, imports were cut to 31.9 percent; and the current one quarter is down from that number. However, some EU nations, such as Finland, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia receive nearly all of their gas from Gazprom.
By Day Blakely Donaldson