RENSOL: Mission completed?

in News, Projects

After 31 months the project “Energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in Kaliningrad Oblast” (RENSOL) is ending and Baltic Development Forum, who led the implementation work through almost three years, has stories to tell and deliverables to be proud of. RENSOL builds on earlier initiatives in the energy field; reports as well as open dialogues on energy issues at several energy conferences in Kaliningrad that BDF arranged in close cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers Information Office in Kaliningrad, and with regional and local Russian authorities. RENSOL allowed us to approach energy issues in a concrete and constructive way, and gave us the opportunity to better understand the Russian reality.

The overall project objective was to enable partners in Kaliningrad – in collaboration with Nordic partners – to more effectively tackle climate change challenges through the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions. These efforts would be carried out with the objective of contributing to realizing the overall objectives of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region as well as the objectives of the EU-Russia energy dialogue. Those are of course ambitious goals which will require more actions and frameworks to fully be in place. However, we are proud since we managed to establish new contacts and strengthen existing partnerships between organizations and stakeholders in the Nordic countries and in Kaliningrad/Northwest Russia. This in itself is an important achievement: it provides a platform for further cooperation and thereby increases the sustainability of project efforts. Together we are ready to replicate and disseminate the already achieved results and learning practices. Russian partners and local players showed strong willingness and engagement to make a change and undertake further endeavors for improving quality of life and the climate situation.

The project covered the following areas: knowledge building, deployment of knowledge in pilot projects, energy management, financing models, and communication and project result multiplication. RENSOL has managed to produce concrete and tangible outputs that can be demonstrated. Two scientific reports – one feasibility study on application of technical solutions, and one guide to financing energy efficiency in Russia. Furthermore, there have been a number of pilot installations: Solar powered street-lighting in Gurievsk municipality, and improved district heating in a kindergarden in Svetly municipality. Training courses and certification of future energy managers have been organized, and numerous seminars, conferences and open discussions have been arranged in connection to bigger cross-border events.

Other highlights of the project are the critical issues that have been identified during the implementation process. These bottlenecks and lacking tools will be a good take away from the project and a starting point for future initiatives to further increase awareness and build knowledge, make necessary modifications and adjustments in legislative and financial frameworks and incentives structures, stimulate the involvement of high-level decision-makers and identify incentives how to make them being more engaged and committed, explore incentives for energy consumers to start thinking in energy-saving terms, change focus from big-tech to small and medium techs solutions, understand the necessity of making investments and co-financing, and raise the feeling of responsibility and ownership.

We are inspired and well-equipped for taking further steps in exploring the complex energy market! For this time being the mission is completed and at the same time we are still at the threshold of a big journey.

For more information, contact Project Manager Viktoria Nilsson,

Study visit to the Danish municipality Albertslund by the delegation from Northwest Russia, March 2012

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