Russia could nearly quadruple the share of renewables in its energy mix by the end of the next decade.
That’s according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which says the country’s proportion of green power could rise from 3% in 2014 to more than 11% in 2030 if it properly exploits its wealth of natural resources.
In the report, IRENA states large hydropower and bioenergy are currently the main sources of renewables in Russia’s energy system and suggests how other forms of generation could play a larger role.
It predicts if Russia doesn’t adjust its energy strategy, the share of renewable energy will only reach 4.9% by 2030, falling significantly short of its potential.
The study suggests Russia should focus on promoting biofuels – it predicts they could represent two-thirds of the renewable energy mix by 2030, thanks to the wide availability of waste and biogas feedstock from the agriculture and forestry industries.
It also suggests solar needs improved federal laws and clearer state policies, while the over-regulated wind market should be freed up to attract new players into the sector.
The report shows an annual investment of approximately $15 billion (£12bn) per year until 2050 is required to maximise potential.
IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said: “The global energy transition is underway, with this study we have a better understanding of Russia’s renewable energy potential, what benefits it could bring and what can be done to make this a reality.
“Russia has had a long history of leadership in the energy sector – and now has the opportunity to extend that leadership into renewable energy.”
Russia took the crown from Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer in the world in December.