|Presentation of recommendation paper at ODB Office|
On 30 September -3 October, ODB hosted a study visit for a group of six Belarusian experts in renewable energy sources (RES) and energy efficiency gathering representatives of the National Academy of Sciences, green energy consultancy companies, universities and non-governmental organisations. The visit took place as part of the Energy Club activities in Minsk.
|At the European Biogas Association|
Though there are several on-shore wind installations in Belarus, those are traditionally viewed as part of 'small energy' sources and the sub-sector remains undeveloped as a consequence.
At the European Biogas Association the Belarusian delegation received an overview of this sector in the EU – which is also more developed in Belarus if compared to that of the wind energy. In 2013, Belarus has introduced the11th biogas plant to the market. However, many of the existing plants do not operate in their full capacity, or work with interruptions caused by the lack of resources or violation of exploitation rules. Technological failures, the lack of experience in managing such projects, as well as the ways to improve the situation were discussed during the meeting.
|Guided tour around the European Renewable Energy House|
Over the years, ODB has been promoting and facilitating such memberships. In the framework of the “Sharing Knowledge” ODB increased the capacity of the Belarusian Union of Transport Workers and exposed it to international professional networks. The latter, consequently, concluded two Memoranda of Cooperation with their Lithuanian and Moldovan colleagues, that within one year resulted in a number of joint initiatives.
DG DEVCO of the European Commission informed the Belarusian energy experts of the new opportunities available under the next stage of the Covenant of Majors initiative - the Sustainable Urban Demonstration Project designed to help the signatory cities fulfilling their energy efficiency plans. The project is designed for the whole Eastern partnership region with the overall budget of 10 million euro.
Because contact-making opportunities is one of the most valuable form of assistance Belarusian experts desire, ODB organised for the delegates a meeting at the Europe's engineering giant Tractebel. Representatives of the Tractebel Renewable Energy Department spoke of a wide range of RES technologies employed by the company around the world, including in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Apart from the wide range of RES solutions, Tractebel has their own technologies of converting old-fashioned coal power plants into the ones working on bio-fuels thus moving them from grey to green economy zone, provides assessment of investment and exploitation costs of a power plant, offers training courses, and other services.
At the meeting, EU and Belarusian professionals discussed cooperation prospects. They came to an agreement that while the RES technologies are in place and constantly improve with regards to their economic efficiency and positive environmental impact, main concern for investors remains connected to the availability of natural resources and the investment climate in a country, especially long-term guarantees for the so-called green tariffs.
With all the difficulties experienced by companies working in the RES domain, with the time they become self-sustainable and competitive to the non-renewable sources. Raising awareness and ensuring government support for these programmes have played and continue to have a key role in this process. Since the Belarusian National Energy Security Strategy goals are in line with the objectives of the EU, the country has a unique chance to learn from its experience and chose what strategies and practices could be best applicable in Belarus.