1-2 November Baltic Development Forum in close cooperation with Nordic Council of Ministers’ Information Office in Kaliningrad and National Energy Saving Union (Russia) organised an international energy conference that brought together stakeholders from the Kaliningrad region, North-West Russia and the Baltic Sea Region. The conference took place at the Museum of the World Ocean and during two days more than 135 participants had a chance to address energy issues and discuss the possibilities of joint activities. For the third time we set an agenda for the discussions on energy cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region aimed at enhancing a cross-border dialogue. The conference welcomed views by the representatives of the Russian federal, regional and municipal authorities, organizations and companies from the Kaliningrad region and its neighboring countries. See Conference Programme
The conference was opened by the organisers as well as by the State Duma of the Russian Federation (Committee on Energy), the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and by the Committee of Soviet Federacii of the Russian Federation. From the Kaliningrad government the issues were addressed by Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Ministry of Construction and Housing. In its welcoming speech Baltic Development Forum underlined an importance in building continuity in regional dialogue, by referring to a concrete follow-up of the previous energy conferences in Kaliningrad (2009 and 2010), pinpointed a significance in establishing networks, better involvement of private sector, improvements in energy planning on both central and municipal levels. Two concrete outcomes of the previous activities were mentioned – the Rotating Energy Planning Academy in the Baltic Sea Region BALREPA and the international energy project on energy efficiency in the Kaliningrad Region RENSOL. Hans Brask underlined “confidence building and transparency” as necessary prerequisites for improvements in energy and climate planning across borders.
The 2012 conference “Energy Partnership in the Baltic Sea Region – New Challenges and Prospects for Cooperation” aimed at making new headway in the dialogue between the EU member states and the Russian Federation on a regional level in the field of climate change, energy and environmental planning. The conference exchanged views on the development of strategies and priorities. The Kaliningrad region could become a testing ground for the EU-Russia cooperation on climate and energy planning, energy efficiency, development of SMART systems and management of energy service market. We started the conference with the discussion about how we can plan our future and what is the implication of the modern concept of energy and climate planning. Many Russian speakers drew attention to a more clear distribution of obligations and responsibilities as regards energy planning, a review and simplification of legislative requirements on energy saving and energy efficiency, enhancement of public awareness and public campaigns, enforcement of market mechanisms in energy saving market. Speaking about the energy and climate planning, the discussion could not neglect the ongoing project in Kaliningrad – construction of Baltiyskaya Nuclear Power Plant. A representative for InterRAO Mr Maxim Kozlov, Head of Strategic Projects, highlighted the fact that a row of countries in the Baltic Sea Region will be in need of external electricity sources up to 2020 and the Kaliningrad region could become an international energy hub with introduction of new power. Some critical remarks were however addressed to Mr Kozlov during the session. Please read a news from the conference in Russian Baltiyskaya Nuclear Power Plant
The energy planning discussion was followed by the debate on how to optimize the allocation of resources as well as an interplay between energy suppliers and its end users. The panel primarily consisted of speakers from the planning side, with a wide and deep knowledge in infrastructure, housing, communal services and balance forecasting. The observation of the speakers is that there are programmes for climate, energy development, heat etc., though the strength of the programmes is another thing. The indicators are not always related or logical. Comprehensive schemes are needed. An important factor is the absence of co-generation. When it comes to CO2 indicators these are not obligatory. The programmes are live documents and performance indicators and follow-up needs to play an important role in revised programmes. Recommendations for the companies were also stressed. The political level with decisions by regional and national levels is sought after.
The 1st Day of the conference was summed up by the discussion on what the financing part of new developments and investments in energy field is, and how far we are in developing the concept of private-public partnerships (PPPs). The Russian side underlined still quite chaotic and unstable situation in developments of financing mechanisms and there is a need in introduction of a better business element. Addressing the issue, NEFCO representative Mikael Sjövall, mentioning 60 PPPs projects financed during 1994 – 2012 in the Nordic and Baltic countries with total value of 5,9 billion EURO, highlighted both benefits and challenges with the use of PPP mechanisms. Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster represented by Head of Strategic Projects Neelabh Singh, underlined the importance of triple helix collaboration combined with citizen engagement with a key driver for Denmark’s leading position within cleantech.
The 2nd Day of the conference was dedicated to the discussions on energy efficiency in building sector that is rapidly expanding and sets some pressure. An international energy project RENSOL was demonstrated as a good example of possible cross-border partnership in energy efficiency field. The conference also addressed the issues of sustainable production and use of bioenergy from forestry.
Great networking possibilities and welcoming atmosphere of hosts were appreciated by the participants and one of the concrete outcomes of the conference was a signing procedure of partnership agreement between National Energy Saving Union (Russia) and Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster.
The organisers of the conference is currently elaborating the chairman’s conclusions that will be published and spread among the relevant networks.
Please see pictures from the conference here.