During the "Energy Expo 2014" exhibition the Belarusian environmental organisation "Center for Environmental Solutions" (CES) had a stand where they gave free energy advice to visitors. Dmitry Burenkin, Manager of the organisation's energy campaign, was present at the stand.
Photo: Pavel Gorbunov, CES
Sharing knowledge to reduce energy consumption in Belarus
The heavy dependence on fossil fuels and high energy consumption makes energy efficiency a burning environmental issue in Belarus. With SIDA's support the public and municipalities have gained knowledge regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy. This has been a successful project which we now plan to continue.
When the first phase of SIDA's support to the Belarusian environmental organisation "Center for Environmental Solutions" (CES) was completed at the end of 2014, around 4000 people and three municipalities had learnt how to reduce their energy consumption. The project came about because of the country's great need for energy efficiency.
Belarus' energy needs are met almost exclusively by fossil fuels, and the country has a high use of energy in relation to its economy, a combination that is both costly and harmful to the environment. Eugeniy Lobanov is Chairman of CES:
"There are two sides to the project; public energy advice and regional energy planning," he explains.
CES has carried out a variety of activities to inform and share knowledge about how individuals, companies, municipalities and organisations can reduce their energy consumption. They have also worked with three Belarusian municipalities and together drawn up plans for increased efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources. SIDA financed the project, while Energikontoret Skåne and INFORSE-Europe were responsible for training and skills development.
Advice to the public
Energikontoret Skåne is one of the 14 energy offices in Sweden who work with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency to help companies, organisations and authorities to reduce their energy consumption or to convert to more environmentally-friendly solutions. Energikontoret Skåne is now helping to successfully apply the concept in Belarus.
Belarus' general public were informed about energy efficiency in several ways through the project. Personal advice was given out over the telephone, during exhibitions and at a advice centres in Minsk.
"The advisers told people about what measures they could take in their homes and offices to reduce their energy consumption. As well as specific advice on energy efficiency they also covered other important environmental issues such as waste and water management. So the project helped to reduce the footprints of individual people on the environment," says Eugeniy Lobanov.
Energy efficiency measures can take place on both a large and a small scale. For larger organisations, it can be a case of improving building or tube insulation or new hot-water boilers, while for individual households it can be a case of replacing incandescent bulbs or isolating windows. This is why it has been important for the project to not only reach out to the authorities and businesses but also to private individuals, school groups and pensioners.
Support to municipalities
The second part of the project was to support three Belarusian municipalities in the design of plans for energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly energy production. Officials and politicians in the municipalities were trained in sustainable energy planning.
"The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020," says Eugeniy Lobanov.
Through the establishment of energy plans these municipalities have taken the first steps toward a sustainable energy situation in Belarus. SIDA financed approximately one fifth of this part of the project and the remaining funding came from the EU.
A second phase of the project is now planned for 2015-2019. The plan is to extend the energy advice which is given to the public to two new cities, for six new municipal cooperations to be implemented and for local energy advisers to work in seven districts. With this investment it is hoped that 15,000 people will be reached.