On 12 November 2012 the “Energy Club” restarted its operation in Minsk. The first one of this year, the extended session of the informal community of experts was dedicated to the issues of energy efficiency and improvement of legal regulation in the framework of the Belarusian energy system. The session was attended by Belarusian and European experts in the field of power industry as well as representatives of civil society and journalists interested in the issues of energy efficiency and development of energy system.
During the session that took place in the format of a seminar the participants discussed mechanisms aimed at improvement of energy efficiency and general development of the energy sector including the improvement оf legal regulation. Among the speakers were deputy head of Gosstandart Mr Siarhey Siamashka– director of the energy efficiency department, senior consultant of the Kema International B.V. Dr. Ilka Lewington and Deputy-Director of the Austrian Energy Agency Professor Herbert Lechner. Currently, there is a draft law “On energy efficiency” ready in Belarus. Also the concept of draft law “On electrical power industry” is under discussion that should help improve the legal regulation of the industry and modernize the structure of the sector management. The passing of the law aims at improving its effectiveness and create conditions for attracting foreign investments.
In his report (see presentation in Russian) Siarhey Siamashka spoke about the aims and mechanisms of preparation of the draft law “On energy efficiency”. During the discussion that took place after the presentation a number of issues were raised that had to do with necessity of passing a new law as well as some legal peculiarities of its structure, differences and advantages in comparison with the current version of the law. Representatives of the Department of Energy Efficiency that were directly involved in the development of the draft law provided the audience with rlevant answers to the questions about the process of ratification of the future standard regulation by all the interested parties.
During the seminar a separate discussion was dedicated to the issue of reform in the field of electrical power industry connected with preparation of the draft law “ On electrical power industry”.
Professor Ilka Lewington, senior consulatant of the company Kema International B.V. ,head of the consultancy group and expert of the project “Support in the implementation of the complex energy policy of the Republic of Belarus” shared her vision of the field in question. The aim of the abovementioned project is to support our country in the implementation of the complex reform of the energy sector and to make steps towards the EU legislation. Ms Lewington presented her report "Importance of the law "On electrical power industry" for the sustainability of the energy system of Belarus" (see presentation) and at the same time provided some recommendations on the reform in the system of electrical power industry. The expert explained what kind of problems are connected with the absence of such law and draw perspectives that could open up with its passing including the ones that allow for investments into alternative energy sources. During the session the issue of insufficient regulation of cooperation in the sector with electricity producers of various ownership types was also touched upon. Despite all the difficulties, the expert noted the strong initial legal base and presence of the foundations to improve the system.
Professor Herbert Lechner (see presentation) told the participants of the seminar about the Austrian experience and mechanisms of solving topical issues in the field of energy efficiency. The expert noted that the dynamics of the energy efficiency level improvement of Belarus, as compared to the one in Russia, is quite positive. But in order to achieve the level of EU countries such as Austria or Germany it is necessary to take additional measures and further develop the existing strategy.
It became clear from Mr Lechner's presentation that a particularly important role in the improvement of energy efficiency is played by renewable sources of energy including the heat energy that is obtained from them. The possibility of its active inclusion into the general structure of energy balance on even a bigger scale depends in many ways on the extension of the renewable energy legislation to cover the heat obtained from it.
During the seminar discussion it was suggested to conduct a comparative analysis of the European and Belarusian legislation in the field of energy efficiency. The main results of the analysis could be used for the future improvement of the legal regulation of the Belarusian energy system. It is also important to note that the experts are ready to offer their expertise and practice as far as the issues of energy efficency and development of renewable energy sources are concerned. All this is done to reach the figures that are close to the pan-European standards. The event was organized within the framework of the "EU and Belarus: sharing knowledge" programme that is coordinated by the “Office for Democratic Belarus” with technical and informational support of the educational facility Office for European Expertise and Communications .
The aim of the programme is strengthening of ties and exchange of best practices between Belarusian experts in various fields and their colleagues from the countries of the European Union and Eastern Partnership.
Its authors hope that activities of the “Energy Club” would contribute to the development of such dialogue at the meetings of similar format in the future.