Energy saving can be the greatest power station in the world

O. Podosenova

Energy saving is the resource as big as Russia, according to Scientific director of the Ural Institute for Energy Saving Nikolai Danilov (Ekaterinburg). This entirely reflects the views of environmental NGOs, who believe that the purposeful introduction of energy efficiency projects will allow to abandon construction of hazardous energy projects.

Despite the relative affordability and versatility, the provision of energy efficiency and conservation as a source of reliable, clean and affordable energy in sufficient quantities requires efforts and support at all levels - from individual and regional to global ones. According to the Plenipotentiary Representative of Russian President in the Urals Federal District Nikolai Vinnichenko at the Council on Economic Policy, "enhancing energy efficiency and introduction of innovations are effective tools that can help to make substantial progress in creating a fundamentally new, socially oriented economy."

According to energy experts in the Urals, an important step towards energy efficiency at the regional level was the transfer of boiler houses in the settlements to local fuels (peat, wood, and waste from forest and timber industry). From 2005 to 2010, about hundred boilers in more than 20 municipalities have been reconstructed and transferred to local and alternative fuels. Annual savings on fuel costs during only three years was 76 million rubles. The overall economic efficiency of measures exceeds 30% and the average payback period is 2 to 3 years. The program for combined heat and power installations of low power in industrial plants and municipalities in the Sverdlovsk region includes introduction of more than 60 plants with total capacity to 100 megawatts.

The Program on Energy Saving has been implemented in the Sverdlovsk region since 2002. Annual monitoring of programmes at enterprises is implemented as well. The estimates of the efficiency of economies of the Middle Urals shows that, despite the reduction already achieved, the share of energy-intensive industries here is 68,8% (in Russia - 54,6%). For each percent increase in gross regional product, the consumption of fuel and electricity in the region increased only by 0,3%. The measures taken during this time managed to reduce energy intensity of economic complex of the Sverdlovsk region by almost 30%. However, today's economy is still energy-intensive; the potential energy saving in the Sverdlovsk region makes about 23 million tons of fuel, according to Experts of the Institute of Energy Saving.

According to Mr. Koksharov, the former regional minister, the head of the Ural Federal University, "the energy saving potential is similar to oil reserves: it can be great, but until a "well" has not been drilled and a "field" has not been settled, it still remains in the "earth".

Prospects for global efforts on energy conservation and energy efficiency are even more impressive. According to the scenario Ecofys, presented recently in The Energy Report, the long-term benefits would be considerable: up to 2040, the savings from reduced energy consumption will be equal to the total amount of investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and by 2050 the benefits of introducing this scenario - compared with the "business as usual" scenario - about 4 trillion euros, and it is only due to lower production costs of energy. In 2050, world energy demand will decrease by 15% as compared to 2005, despite the increase in the world population, industrial capacity, freight and travel. In addition, the energy will be affordable even for those who currently do not have access to it. Among other benefits of energy efficiency - savings from avoiding conflicts of energy security, oil spills and breaks in the supply of fossil fuels, whose resources are becoming smaller and smaller, with more and more problems in terms of policy or environmental safety of the regions.