World Bank plans rural power program for former Soviet Union

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There is a ray of hope for development of a more sizeable renewables market in the former Soviet Union. The World Bank and its Global Environment Facility are doing a preliminary analysis for investment of as much as $200 million in rural electrification in the region, though the prevailing economic uncertainty is slowing the project. The plan is not being formally considered yet, but if or when the massive project it goes ahead it would make a considerable dent in the area's rural electrification needs. Meantime, the former Soviet Union has become the focus of a number of private and public American aid programs because it is perceived to have such critical need for expertise, technology and power. The US Energy Association, based in Washington DC, represents private energy companies. Together with the US government's Agency for International Development it is running an energy industry partnership program between the US and six countries in the former Soviet Union. To promote deregulation and private investment, it organises management exchange between regional utilities in America and the nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Issues that are considered a priority include the environment, metering and regulation.

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