As Europe aims to be climate neutral by 2050, countries like Sweden and Belgium are making real progress towards that goal by shutting down coal plants and investing in renewable energy sources. Eastern Europe, however, has been considerably slower – in part because the switch to renewables has been an expensive investment.
Now, with wind and solar getting cheaper, and with a need for robust economic recovery plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from Bloomberg shows how four Eastern European countries could affordably invest in clean energy, and with that investment, help bring about a green recovery for all of Europe.
Bulgaria, Czechia, Poland, and Romania are four of the most coal-intensive countries in the EU, and none of them have a defined plan on how to phase out this dirty fossil fuel. Poland in particular is the EU’s largest producer of coal, and a year ago, the country still planned to open new coal mines.
Luckily though, as the new report indicates, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected those plans, and with Poland and other European countries looking to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, renewable energy could be the answer.
In fact, according to the Bloomberg report, a transition to renewables in these four countries could unlock 54 billion euros in investments and create 45,000 jobs.
What’s more, by transitioning away from coal and towards wind and solar – which are the most cost-effective options – the countries could actually hit bigger climate benchmarks than their respective National Energy and Climate Plans.
With the need for a green post-pandemic recovery as well as urgent action on climate change, the data from the new report provides solid evidence that the green energy transition doesn’t only make sense from an environmental perspective but an economic one as well.