The country’s government has backed a new energy efficiency plan for the next decade, promising considerably economy for a modest 9.5 trillion rubles.
Recently Russian authorities have been seriously alarmed by the country’s energy spending, which is three times higher than in Europe. Such drastic figures, officials say, can hamper the country’s economic progress.
In order to tackle the issue, the Energy Ministry has drawn a new 9.5-trillion-ruble strategy that will help cut energy use by 13 percent and soon pay off.
The plan includes two major steps: cutting energy use at factories and in private households.
The officials offer to provide companies with credits allowing them to replace their outdated facilities with modern ones. The citizens will be urged to buy new energy efficient appliances.
Currently, the appliances used by the population are mostly outdated: officials say more than 25 percent of fridges were bought before the 1990s.
The strategy does not specify, however, how exactly the citizens will be assisted in buying new house appliances. Deputy Trade Minister Andrey Dementiev was reported by Vedomosti newspaper as saying that the issue has not been yet discussed with the Trade Ministry. Still, Dementiev supported the initiative, underlining that households are key to energy use.
The governor of the Irkutsk region, however, believes that the population is not ready for new energy saving technologies.
“People are used to cheap energy,” Dmitry Mezentsev told Vedomosti. “They would rather open the window than turn off the heater.”
In addition to fridges and washing machines, the government plans to modernize power plants, about 90 percent of which date back to Soviet times; build new boiler rooms, as 70 percent of existing ones also are too old; and replace 66 percent of heat networks.
Officials also aim to optimize energy spending on railways and oil transportation.
Regional authorities will be responsible for raising energy efficiency in public buildings; the government plans to allocate 18.8 billion rubles for co-financing.
The issue of energy efficiency was first raised in June 2009, when President Dmitry Medvedev urged the government “to take measures instead of chatting on the topic." Since then, the Duma adopted a law gradually banning incandescent lamp bulbs.
Experts believe that Russian authorities have set their minds on an impossible undertaking.
“The government is trying to take very big steps in very short timeframe,” Jeroen Ketting, managing director of Lighthouse Group, which specializes in energy-efficient business projects, told RT. “The things Russia wants to do in one or two years have been done in Europe for the last 20 or 30 years. What we now have in Europe is the result of what has been done since the 1970s.”
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