SEATTLE — The World Bank administers the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). ESMAP reports findings for assisting national or regional energy strategies. Their studies help nations budget resources for project identification and strategic planning, especially in early stages.
ESMAP compounded a list of countries with promising potential for renewable resource development. It studied the North Africa region, a select number of countries in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Egypt’s advantageous exposure to sunlight and recent discovery of fossil fuel reserves make it a promising candidate. Its strong economy supports green energy developments such as exporting fossil fuels. Egypt’s strengths reside in its abilities to harness solar thermal power, solar thermal for industrial process heat, photovoltaic conversion, wind and biomass. To date, more than 40 wind turbines fill the Hurgahada wind farm, and 200,000 solar water collectors energize technologies used in food and textile productions. In terms of wind potential, the most promising spots are along the coast of the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
Another country rich in sunlight and renewable energy resources is Morocco. Morocco houses rich reserves in oil, natural gas, oil shale, coal, hydro, uranium biomass, wind and solar energy. It faces costly import needs for its energy, however recent advances in green production free Morocco’s market for more renewable resource use. Rural regions are in greatest need of energy. Wind-generated electricity, solar thermodynamic power for grid systems and photovoltaic (PV) projects are sources for stable power especially in rural areas. According to ESMAP’s report, PV applications specifically can power 39,000 villages.
Tunisia’s prime spot for sunlight fuels solar water heaters and its wind capacities gave way to the country’s first wind farm located at Cap Bon. More developments include PV solar home systems in rural areas, solar water heaters in the public service sector like hotels and biogas in individual farms.
Only a portion of Russia qualifies for promising renewable energy development. In the north, its ethnically diverse populations and fragile ecosystems host large wind and biomass reserves. Further, Kamchatka and the Kuril islands in eastern Russia promise potential for geothermal energy production. Institutionally and technically, Russia has a firm handle of its green energy capabilities. However, economically and financially, it needs assistance. The European Union and the United States are allies in this discussion.
Russia’s enormous rural population requires less standalone and more centralized gas and electric systems. Fuel delivery is a problem for many, leaving thousands without working electricity. This is a source of environmental and economic waste. Installing wind, biomass, geothermal, PV, solar thermodynamic or solar water heating systems are promising developments for Russia. To do so, Russia must overcome its existing weak data and project experience, and small price margins between conventional and renewable energies.
For Bulgaria, most of its primary fuels are imported. As of 2005, nearly 75% was imported, mostly from Ukraine and Russia. The majority of its electricity comes from high polluting thermal and nuclear power plants. In 2005, the local fuel was extremely polluting, and the nuclear power plant Kozloduy posed dangerous safety risks. Bulgaria has the highest potential in biomass, small hydro and wind production. Solar energy is also a viable option due to the country’s proximity to high sunlight.
Kazakhstan’s wind resources are most promising at the Djungar Gate along the eastern border with China. Further investigation by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) found economic potential at the Djungar Gate. Hydro power is another possibility that could significantly reduce Kazakhstan’s dependence on its coal power system. Concerning rural populations, PV cell applications can be easily installed for reliable electricity.
The Kyrgyz Republic
The Kyrgyz Republic’s hydro, solar, and PV capacities are strong, but pricing affordable electricity is one of the biggest challenges to developing green energies. The Kyrgyz Republic, however, has reliable solar energy resources and high market potential for PV home systems, especially in nomadic regions where portable PV units can provide the same benefits as kerosene but at a 30% less costly sticker price.
Armenia is completely dependent on imported fuels, which hurts its transportation and industrial markets. When the World Bank visited Armenia, it identified the greatest sources of growth: solar water heater technology, small hydro power generation and biomass production through agricultural and forest waste. Wind along the Pushkin Pass, the Sisian Pass and Lake Sevan are bright spots for wind development.
In Georgia, wind power, solar water heaters and geothermal power merit the most promise. Curtailing these advancements are Georgia’s substantial dependence on fossil fuel imports and its weak electricity generation system. Wind-water combination systems yield the best results because when one fails the other serves as a backup. Georgia’s winters and summers mimic this give and take relationship, maximizing energy output at any given time.