November 19, 2020
Clean Energy Development in Eastern Europe
Countries in eastern Europe have committed to increasing their power generation from renewable sources, but each country faces several hurdles: Not only will they need to expand existing energy infrastructure, but they will also have to modernize antiquated regulatory schemes and markets to attract investment. The success of these efforts depends on regional cooperation, writes AAF’s Director of Energy Policy Ewelina Czapla, and the United States is playing a crucial role. The development of the clean energy sector in eastern Europe will not only increase the security and independence of these countries but will also provide opportunities for the adoption of innovative technologies from the United States.
By increasing renewable generation capacity, countries in eastern Europe will reduce their dependency on imported fossil fuels. The reduction of imports of coal, fuel oil, and natural gas will increase energy independence and thus protect the countries from undue influence. Fossil fuels, particularly natural gas supplied by Russia, have proven to be a means for the United States’ geopolitical rivals to exert influence….
The result of U.S. engagement in the development of energy infrastructure will prove valuable for the countries involved as well as the United States. The positive impact that the United States is having in the region is reflected by the fact that countries that no longer qualify for USAID assistance continue to engage with new programs, such as the Energy Bridge Initiative. Efforts to coordinate regional dialogue and introduce new sources of investment ensure that the needs of the countries involved remain at the forefront rather than the political or economic needs of Russia and China.