Energy efficiency got down to the ground

Up to the present time, decisions on whom to and how preferences for energy saving would be extended was decided at the federal level. Since the beginning of this year, control on the tax privileges for energy efficient objects is delegated to the regions. What should we expect from this sort of changes?  

Activities on the enhancement of energy efficiency at the federal level had a rough start from the very beginning. The “Energy Saving and Enhancement of Energy Efficiency for the Period till 2020” Program  required to increase energy efficiency by 40% and save in total 630 bln KWt*h of electric power. However, the true results of state and regional programs in energy efficiency quite noticeably fell short of the targets set.  This seems to be the reason why they decided to rectify the energy strategy failures at the federal level at the account of regions and industries.


Recently, the Government introduced in the State Duma a federal bill making provisions for the transfer to industry-based formation of companies’ requirements for energy efficiency programs, a representative of the Ministry of Energy informed.


Also, the Ministry of Energy together with Rosstat (the Federal State Statistics Service) developed a system of “objective key indexes of energy efficiency,” 24 positions altogether,  which “allows to shape industries’ development plans with consideration of the requirements for reduction of energy intensity.  The energy department reports: 63% of RF Subjects state programs include energy efficiency indexes and 23 regions have approved their scheduled plans for energy efficiency enhancement for the period up to 2025. So, what have Russian regions mapped up?


In the Moscow Region, they have decided to come up with a bill which would exempt newly built infrastructure facilities with implemented energy saving technologies from the real estate tax for 3 years, Chairman of the Committee on the budget, financial and taxation policies of the Moscow State Duma Taras Yefimov said. 


A similar practice is about to be applied in the Omsk Region: they are discussing a bill according to which a zero tax rate will be provided for three years to enterprises introducing energy efficient facilities.


The Governor of the Sverdlovsk Region Yevgeniy Kuivashev signed an order on the transfer of the government sector of the region onto the energy efficient lightening sources. “The means which will be released in the result of such measures can be used for further modernization and development of the communal infrastructure and to the most highly demanded socially critical projects. The roadmap for the transfer of the Sverdlovsk Region to using energy efficient light sources will be implemented with engagement of private investments within the frame of state and municipal institutions’ performance contracts,” the gubernatorial press-service informed.    


In Primorye, they launched a regional program on energy efficiency enhancement and energy saving. The regional authorities consider the same performance contracts as cases in point in the sphere of energy saving. Energy companies are planning to work in the municipalities of Primorye signing contracts with schools, kindergartens, and centers of culture and sports. In Primorye, they intend to start with launching a training system for managers and auditors: regional authorities claim that they need local energy managers and, so far, there is an obvious lack of those. 


On the one hand, it is exactly a region “on the earth” that can adequately assess the actual result of and the outcome from energy efficiency measures. However, the overall lack of coordination and unified approaches has already caused the situations when, instead of proper programs, the regions “pull in different directions.” It all depends upon to what extent the regional authorities understand the severity of the problem: for some regions, energy efficiency is a complex process embracing everything from the educational system to creation of incentives for business, while for some others, it is no more than a mere replacement of bulbs.  


“Particular regional initiatives are quite good news. However, the new scheme already cannot guarantee achievement of the state program goals, which, while not too ambitious, had been promising clearly measurable results,”  Olga Senova, Climate Secretariat of the Russian Social and Ecological Union, believes. “For example, saving of 630 bln KWt*h of electric power within ten years is comparable with production of one of the biggest Russian nuclear power stations (Leningrad or Kola) combined with production of the biggest fossil fuel station (Surgut SDPP).  This is an obvious proof of that the energy efficiency is the biggest, the cleanest, and the cheapest energy source: saved energy costs a lot less than construction of new facilities in power generation, and it causes no damages to the nature and human environment.”  


Regional self-sufficiency in the energy efficiency sphere might bring good results under conditions of coordination of national, regional, and industrial policies, supported by financial funds and administrative levers, with obligatory provisions for transparency of the decisions made and exact assessment of the outcomes.


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