Will energy solutions in the Kaliningrad region help to save the climate?

On July 12 in Kaliningrad, the Russian Socio-Ecological Union and the Friends of the Baltic held a seminar for journalists and the public "Energy efficiency against climate change", visited the oil platform D6, discussed energy-efficient solutions for the residential sector and education for schoolchildren on energy saving.

The seminar was held within the framework of international environmental bicycle campaign "Sea-Nature-Energy", which began on July 3 in Lithuania and went to Russia and Poland. The bicycle campaign was organised by Friends of the Baltic, Association of Environmental Journalists of St.Petersburg, the Climate Secretariat of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union, the Centre for Environmental Initiatives, with the participation and support of organisations: Ecogroup "Guide" and the movement "Anthropos" (Kaliningrad), Dodo - Living nature for the future (Finland), Zwejone (Lithuania), and the Polish Ecological Club (Gdansk).

As recognized by UN experts, the global problem of climate change is largely caused by using coal, oil and gas as fuels. The Russian Socio-Ecological Union monitors international and Russian national climate policy, and supports specific actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Kaliningrad region a major actor in "hydrocarbons business" is LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft. The company performs oil production at an offshore ice-resistant stationary platform D6, located on the shelf, 22 km from the Curonian Spit. The platform has "zero discharge", i. e., all industrial and household waste is transported from it to the shore for disposal. An underwater pipeline 47 km long brings the product - a mixture of oil and petroleum
gas - to the collector center "Romanov". There, oil is brought to marketable condition by separation, dehydration and desalting. The purified gas is used for own needs of the oil-collecting station. The used water is sent to a special cleaning plant and pumped into two disposal wells. The prepared oil is pumped to the oil terminal "LUKOIL I" (Izhevskoye) through an onshore underground pipeline.
Within the bicycle campaign, on July 12, representatives of the public and journalists met with the CEOs of the company and visited the oil platform D6. The visit left the impression of the company's commitment to environmental responsibility. In particular, the oil port is equipped with an installation that provides capturing the gas that might go into the atmosphere while filling
a tanker with oil. This problem is still not resolved at the oil port of the Baltic Pipeline System in Primorsk, Leningrad Oblast. There, residents suffer from asphyxiating gases, covering the town almost every time the next oil tanker is being filled, and the "Transneft" company does not want to spend money for the installation to catch these gases, and believes that residents can be patient.

According to preliminary estimates, the peak production at the D6 oil platform will be between 2012 and 2020, and by 2040 all the oil reserves will be exhausted. Resources in other Lukoil oil fields are also limited. So, in addition to responsibility for emissions of greenhouse gases from burning hydrocarbons, the company should think about alternatives to exhaustible engergy resourses.

NGO activists and journalists have learned with interest about the plans of LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft to develop renewable carbon-free energy sources - to install wind generators. The Kaliningrad region has the experience of introducing alternative renevable energy sources - the wind farm with 21 units with total capacity of 5,1 MW is working near the village of Kulikovo. Unfortunately, this promising solution did not stop dangerous plans for nuclear energy - now the Baltic nuclear power plant is being built near Kaliningrad - although the issue of safe disposal of radioactive waste have not been resolved neither in Russia nor in any other country.

Lukoil considers renewable energy as an exotic initiative, not considered as equivalent to strategic oil direction. Nevertheless, the Climate Secretariat of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union and Friends of the Baltic NGO believe that the development of renewable energy sources and preparations to the "carbon-free" scenario is a far-sighted policy and a pledge of stability for the oil company, particularly now, during dramatic events in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the evening of the same day, in the office of the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) the bicycle campaign participants held a seminar for the public and journalists on energy efficiency and climate change. In the Kaliningrad region, the NCM has a project to raise awareness of municipalities on energy efficiency, this being the mutual interest of Kaliningrad and St.Petersburg environmentalists. The Climate Secretariat of the Russian Socio-Ecological Union and Friends of the Baltic NGO provided information on local initiatives of energy solutions in the Leningrad region that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (wind energy, biofuel from timber waste, passive houses - http://rusecounion.ru/media-tur8410). Representatives of Friends of the Baltic and the Center for Environmental Initiatives shared information about simple ways to save energy in homes and apartments, presented publications "Energy saving at home", "Be Energy Engineer by Yourself", and a set of posters on energy-saving solutions for buildings. Since the largest share of energy consumption at home is heat and hot water, the first need is upgrading the heating system and installing a system for registration and control of heat and hot water. This will give the greatest economic and environmental impact.

The seminar participants paid special attention to high energy consumption by cars. It is comparable in magnitude to the total energy consumption at home from all sources - electricity, gas, hot water and heating. This means that each person with his/her personal choice of public transport or bicycle instead of a car can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, structural solutions are needed: the development of public transport and bicycle infrastructure in cities, measures to restrict the use of private cars, improving the requirements to engines, etc.
Participants discussed ways of educating children and adults on climate and energy. The SPARE programme (www.spareworld.org) is already known in Kaliningrad, but schools have not yet joined it in full. Representatives of Friends of the Baltic, coordinating SPARE in Russia, passed the SPARE kit to NCM and teachers - participants of the seminar.

In accordance with Federal Law № 261 on energy saving and energy efficiency, each state organisation shall create in the near future an energy performance certificate and a program of energy saving measures. According to the Russian Socio-Ecological Union opinion, it is important to involve schools to this work, to use the SPARE experience to find reserves for energy conservation and introduction of simple measures by schoolchildren and school administration. This is one of priorities of the SPARE and of the the Socio-Ecological Union program "Education for sustainable development in the field of climate and energy" (http://rusecounion.ru/edu_program). The workshop gave the participants an excellent opportunity to share their achievements and successful approaches in the field of education on climate and energy, and showed reporters practical ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and human influence on climate.

Kaliningrad region is an important part of the Baltic coast, with unique nature and resources for sustainable development, for development of clean energy. So far, these resources are used in a very small extent, but there are examples and the first steps to climate-friendly energy solutions.

For more information please contact:

Olga Senova +7 921 9117986, Alexander Fedorov, +7 921 9250833