Increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy use would help to reduce energy consumption by half in the Caspian region, according to International Energy Agency's Monday report.
The potential of energy savings in all sectors is vast; the report argues and adds, 'particularly in district heating, electricity generation and networks, and industry and buildings.'
The Caspian region has one of the most proven oil and gas reserves in the world, though the report signals that the countries in this region should not rely heavily on fossil-fuel resources but rather focus on diversifying to renewables and increasing energy efficiency.
'Using energy as efficiently as the OECD countries do would decrease energy use in the Caspian region as a whole by one-half,' the report believes.
The report focuses on a total of 11 countries in Eastern Europe and in the Caucasus and Central Asia region, EECCA; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The report is part of the organization's regional review of energy policies beyond IEA countries.
The countries in the EECCA are rich in hydrocarbons, hydro power and renewable energy-resources which are concentrated around the Caspian and Black Sea basins.
The region has an significant amount of alternative and renewable sources of energy. The potential for energy efficiency gains is vast and remains largely untapped in all the region's countries, the report underlines.
The IEA does not predict a radical change in the primary energy mix in the near to long-term because progress towards more sustainable energy use has not been at an important level, according to the report.
However, the report believes this can be altered by 'raising public awareness on the tangible benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
This would 'boost the deployment of modern energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies and spur the penetration of variable renewables in the power systems.'
Actualizing the possibilities depends largely on government policies, 'especially on energy pricing, market reform and improved access to financing for energy projects.'
Developing a cost-benefit analysis would also help governments further develop renewable energy strategies and promote sector development, the report stresses.
By Zeynep Beyza Karabay