Renewable energy lobbyist, the Europe-Ukrainian Energy Agency (EUEA), has welcomed moves by the European Commission to speed up renewables deployment and reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas.
Last week the European Commission proposed an energy security strategy, encouraging member states to increase efforts towards the EU’s 2020 renewable energy targets.
The strategy was in immediate response to energy insecurity concerns over the political unrest between Ukraine and Russia: Europe gets 39% of its gas imports from Russia, and relies on imports for 53% of its overall energy consumption.
Following from the energy security threats posed by tensions between Russia, the EU and Ukraine, the EUEA told PV Tech “solar can and will play a significant contribution for higher European energy independence”, thanks to current technologies, energy prices and a need for diversification.
“Solar can, at reasonable costs, be part of more balanced energy mix and higher energy independence for Europe,” EUEA said.
The EU’s pledge to diversify energy sources, implement an internal market, strengthen emergency and solidarity mechanisms to protect infrastructure and increase indigenous energy, are “more than needed and welcomed initiatives”.
The EUEA praised the political commitment towards increasing gas supplies while giving more room to renewables in the European energy mix.
However, the EUEA called for more long-term goals. “Europe needs to secure more sources of energy (in particular gas) and to define a long-term energy strategy,” it said.
“The problem cannot be solved in the short term and does not have a single and simple answer.”
Meanwhile, following the May 25 presidential elections in Ukraine, there are hopes that investment in PV will begin again.
As reported on PV Tech, solar power plants in Crimea were shut down in April after Ukraine's state utility, Energorynok cancelled power purchase agreements. Also a draft law reducing the green tariffs solar receives in the rest of Ukraine is still being discussed in parliament with no clear date for completion.
Ukrainian energy advisor group, IME Power analyst, Yuri Kubrushko, told PV Tech he hopes that situation would ease now.
“We certainly hope that there is a positive outcome of the presidential elections, to bring much needed stability to Ukraine during the summer. As of now, naturally risks are too high for banks and investors to work on any new projects,” he said.