Many of the energy challenges in Europe and Central Asia are related to the region’s specific climatic, economic, environmental and political characteristics.
Europe and Central Asia is blessed with almost universal household electrification (99.4 percent). However, the ageing energy supply infrastructure, a lack of supply diversification and increasing tariffs expose more and more people to power cuts and high electricity and gas bills, in addition to contributing significantly to climate change.
Although the region has tremendous untapped potential for almost all forms of sustainable energy, so far renewable energy sources (other than hydropower) account for only 1.38 percent of the energy supply. In recent years, however, the region has shown a positive trend in adopting sustainable energy technologies. For example, between 2005 and 2012, the generating capacity of solar PV and wind power plants increased by 2.5 Gigawatts.
UNDP helps to de-risk investments in sustainable energy, while expanding employment and livelihood opportunities as energy services progressively develop. UNDP’s support also includes promotion of a range of technologies
UNDP continues to support comprehensive energy sector transformation programmes, by:
- accelerating the market adoption of clean technologies;
- building capacities in local financial institutions to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency;
- improving policy, legal and regulatory frameworks;
- raising awareness and building capacities of key government institutions; and
- piloting site-specific technical solutions, like solar panels in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
For example, in Armenia, foreign direct investment has been secured to restore a municipal district heating system. In Kazakhstan, state-funded programmes have scaled up UNDP’s pilot investments.