Greater deployment of non-hydropower renewable energy sources in Central Asia appears to be a rational solution to energy security in the region. However, renewable energy diffusion in Central Asia is at an incipient stage. Moreover, the utilization of renewable energy sources varies substantially across the region. Whereas fossil fuel-rich, more developed Central Asian economies pursue the deployment of non-hydropower renewable energy sources, water-rich, lower-income countries retain their reliance on large-scale hydropower. This article argues that wider deployment of non-hydropower renewable energy sources is critical for Central Asian countries’ sustainability and attempts to explain the double paradox of plenty through the specifics of institutional environments in energy-poor and rent-dependent Central Asian economies.
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