Effective policymaking key to scaling up renewable energy generation

By Olga Rosca

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EBRD backs Turkey’s Akfen Renewables with loans of over US$ 100 million

Akfen windfarm in Çanakkale, Turkey.

  • Countries need to ramp up renewables to address climate emergency
  • Political will key to creating enabling environment for investment in renewables
  • Sector players call for effective policymaking at conference in Istanbul

Political will is central for countries who want to grow their share of renewable energy in the energy mix; this was the conclusion of a joint conference by the EBRD and the Atlantic Council, a US-based public policy group, in Istanbul today.

Participants took stock of the current policy and regulatory trends in their countries and discussed changes needed in the investment climate, the grid integration of renewables and the outlook for further technological innovation. They called for effective policymaking to ramp up investment in renewable projects.

The one-day event brought together policymakers from countries where the EBRD invests, such as Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Uzbekistan, as well as global and regional developers of renewable energy projects, manufacturers and financiers.

Nandita Parshad, EBRD Managing Director for Sustainable Infrastructure, opened the event by saying: “We can no longer think of megawatts but gigawatts – both in our ambition and delivery of renewable energy generation. Record low prices, especially for solar and wind, show how the economics of clean energy are aligning with the physics of climate change.”

Ms Parshad praised Turkey’s rapidly growing share of renewables: “Turkey is a splendid example of what can be achieved when a government sets itself ambitious targets to grow renewable energy and takes the right policy actions. By 2019 Turkey had reached 45 GW of installed renewable capacity, having exceeded its 2023 goals already in 2017.”

Alparslan Bayraktar, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Deputy Minister, added: “Renewable energy has been a game-changer for the Turkish energy market and was driven by strong political commitment and a readiness to change the market structure.”

He also noted that as the demand for energy was growing, reducing the reliance on imports remained the biggest challenge for energy officials. Currently, renewable energy sources constitute almost half of Turkey’s installed energy capacity.

Fred Kempe, President and CEO of the Atlantic Council, reminded conference participants of the risks climate change poses to “the very prosperity and security that has underwritten the post-Cold War global order”.

He continued: “Climate-fuelled natural disasters have cost the economy almost US$ 1 trillion over the last five years. The energy transition is driven in part by the quest to avoid these costs and will require massive investment. However, if implemented correctly, it will bring about countless benefits and become a driver of economic growth, innovation and energy security for all.”

Defne Arslan, Director of the Atlantic Council in Turkey, added: “From the massive scale-up in wind and solar in Turkey and the region, to the construction of new transmission infrastructure that will better integrate neighbors and will help to unlock the region’s renewable potential, there is indeed an exciting path ahead of us to take.”

The discussion panels looked at the status of renewables in the region, transition towards a subsidy-free world, integration of intermittent renewable energy sources and regional integration of grids, the next generation of renewables and the role of new technologies.

Ms Parshad reconfirmed the EBRD’s readiness to support governments and businesses in creating adequate policy frameworks and arranging procurement processes, as well as providing much-needed finance and advice.

Last year alone, the EBRD financed almost 2.25 GW of new renewables across its region. The Bank is currently working with 14 governments to start or launch renewable energy auctions.

In 2019, EBRD green economy financing hit a record €4.6 billion – or 46 per cent of total business volume – underscoring the Bank’s strong support for the global climate agenda. At the time of the 2015 Paris climate accord, the EBRD had set itself a target of dedicating 40 per cent of annual investment to the green economy by 2020.

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