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Towards sustainable renewable energy investment and deployment: Trade-offs and opportunities with water resources and the environment

There is an increasing recognition that energy-related objectives can be achieved more effectively through integrated and consultative planning, in synergy with environmental and other sectoral objectives, notably those of the water and agricultural sectors. A series of intersectoral “nexus” assessments  under the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes illustrates this potential for sustainable, more coherent development. As the energy system transforms, renewable energy technologies will have an increasingly central role, also because of their potential to provide multi-sectoral and environmental benefits.

Attracting investment is a major challenge in many countries of the UNECE region, and the Sustainable Energy Division/Group of Experts of Renewable Energy (GERE) has supported trouble-shooting obstacles to investment in renewable energy through multi-stakeholder Hard Talks  in various countries. As follow up to the Drina Nexus Assessment, Hard Talks were organized in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, leading to formulating recommendations for sustainable renewable energy deployment.

For energy policy-makers, “integration” involves action throughout the whole renewable energy development process, from strategic planning and policy design through to project development. They need to ensure that the objectives and constraints of all sectors are properly considered along these three “tracks” and at the same time they should exploit the synergies that exist with other sectors, for instance with water management (e.g. wastewater valorization) and agro-forestry (e.g. sustainable biomass). At the same time, negative impacts across sectors and borders can be reduced.

This “tool-kit” publication  ̶  a joint effort of the Environment and Sustainable Energy Divisions  ̶   proposes a pragmatic approach to support policy-makers in: enhancing cooperation on renewable energy across sectors; exploring co-financing and partnership opportunities; maximizing and multiplying the benefits of renewables; and reducing their negative impact on the environment and local communities.

The publication builds on existing methods and tools and on the experience of UNECE’s networks of experts across the spectrum of relevant sectors: renewable energy development, sustainable management of natural land and water resources, environmental protection, agriculture and municipalities, regional and transboundary cooperation. Practical application of the toolkit is now called for, in the countries and/or in transboundary basins.


Download the publication in English.