Russian energy saving potential is still not fully used

Galina Raguzina

Russia is gradually moving towards practical implementation of its vast energy efficiency potential. Last Thursday, President Medvedev signed an Act “On assessment of effectiveness of the Russian Federation executive authorities, self-governments, and municipalities in energy saving and energy efficiency increase”.

Last year, the Russian government adopted the Law on Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency Increase , and the Energy Strategy of Russia until 2030. Those documents declared intentions but have not provided any concrete mechanism to achieve them.

However, Russia’s commitments on greenhouse gas emission cut, that comply with its national interests of upgrading, technology renovation, and economical growth, require to take measures on implementation of 40% energy efficiency improvement target set by the Russian President.

According to the new Act, municipality and city administration heads are required to submit an annual report (starting from 2008) on how the energy efficiency process actually goes, what measures have been taken, and what results those measures have gained.

“Russia has a unique win-win opportunity if it acts aggressively to couple its energy and climate-change policies,” writes John Millhone, an expert of the Moscow Carnegie Center, in his recently published report Russia's Neglected Energy Reserves.

By improving energy efficiency in sectors of electricity and heat supply, industry, transport, and building reconstruction, Russia could lower its energy costs and price consumers pay for energy, create jobs, increase exports of gas and oil, and cut its greenhouse gas emissions, the report concludes.
Russia can cut to 45% of its energy consumption, with energy saving. By improving energy efficiency, Russia can save 1240 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 1340 billion kWh of electricity, l89 million tons of coal, 143 million tons of raw oil. And it will cost three times less the energy generation expansion. These are conclusions of the report Energy Efficiency in Russia: Hidden Reserve produced by the World Bank.