RUSTEC: Greening Europe's energy supply by developing Russia's renewable energy potential

Anatole Boute, Patrick Willems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


The North-West of Russia is characterized by a large renewable energy resource base in geographic proximity to the EU. At the same time, EU Member States are bound by mandatory renewable energy targets which could prove to be costly to achieve in the current budgetary context and which often face strong local opposition. Directive 2009/28/EC on Renewable Energy makes it possible for Member States to achieve their targets by importing electricity produced from renewable energy sources from non-EU countries. So far, most attention has been on the Mediterranean Solar Plan or Desertec. An EU–Russia Renewable Energy Plan or RUSTEC – being based on onshore wind/biomass/hydro energy and on-land interconnection, rather than solar power and subsea lines – could present a cost-efficient and short-term complement to Desertec. This article examines the political, geopolitical, economic, social and legal challenges and opportunities of exporting ‘‘green’’ energy from Russia to the EU. It argues that
EU–Russian cooperation in the renewable energy field would present a win-win situation: Member States could achieve their targets on the basis of Russia’s renewable energy potential, while Russia could begin to develop a national renewable energy industry without risking potential price increases for domestic consumers—a concern of great political sensitivity in Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-629
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Policy
Early online date6 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

The authors are most grateful to Steffen von Buenau (IFC Russia Renewable Energy Program) for outstanding research assistance. Moreover, this article benefited from very useful comments and input by Nigel Bankes, Andrei Belyi, Elena Merle Beral, Christian Cleutinx, Yanal Abul Failat, Andreas Goldthau, Sheelagh Killen, Anna Korppoo, Samantha Olz, Simon Pirani and Alexey Zhikharev. This article represents the views of the authors only, not necessarily of the organizations to which they are associated. All remaining errors must be attributed to the authors only.


  • EU-Russia energy relation
  • renewable energy
  • joint projects


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