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Премия рунета 2017

WWF calls for removing obstacles to the ‘green’ energy

13 march 2018
The development of alternative energy will be one of the key themes of ‘Earth Hour – 2018’. Experts of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) talk about the current situation with RES in Russia.

‘Green’ energy is based on the use of renewable energy sources (RES), primarily the energy of the sun and wind. It is alternative to energy, based on the burning of fossil fuels — coal, gas, peat and oil products. The production and consumption of ‘green’ energy is characterized by less negative impact on the environment, climate and human health.

The use of traditional fuels is associated with high CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, which leads to increased greenhouse effect and global climate change. Of course energy is also spent in the production of solar and wind power equipment, but CO2 emissions per unit of power for RES facilities are much lower than in traditional energy: the average value of greenhouse gas emissions in СО2 equivalent per kWh in solar energy is 46 g, in wind energy — 12 g, for generation on the basis of natural gas — 470 g, oil — 840 g, coal — 1000 g.

At present, without taking into account large hydro power plants, the share of renewable energy in Russia for electricity generation is about 1%. This is primarily due to the high cost of RES, the long payback period of projects and the availability of gas. In countries such as Denmark, Germany, China and the United States, where the cost of gas is significantly higher than in Russia, renewable energy sources have already become widespread. Secondly, the development of renewable energy does not solve the problem of heat production, which is vitally important for Russia. Thirdly, in Russia the development of solar and wind generation is hampered by excessive legal regulation — for wind installations it increases capital costs by 20-40%. Nevertheless, every year the capacity of renewable energy sources is increasing.

For Russia, RES is first of all the development of advanced technologies and competencies with the prospect of exporting high-tech products. Russia has already achieved certain results in the production of solar modules, construction and operation of solar power plants, has begun developing the technology base of wind power. At the same time, the use of renewable energy sources is now fully profitable for the energy supply of isolated and remote energy areas and allows to significantly improve the quality of life of Russians living in these territories.

(с) Chris Martin Bahr / WWF-Canon

Global progress will continue, sooner or later, Russia will enter the era of mass development of RES. Unlike European countries seeking to diversify imported energy resources, in Russia at the moment there is no urgent need to increase energy independence through alternative sources.

However, there is no doubt that RES will become one of the fastest growing energy sectors and will transform the global energy balance. The development of renewable energy today is a long-term investment in the future that will allow Russia to remain in the global technological and ecological trend. The development of the industry will promote scientific and technical progress in the electric power industry, ensure long-term energy security and reduce the negative impact on the environment.

‘RES, of course, is included on top-list of areas of global technological competition and the restructuring of the world economy. Regardless of how skeptical you are about RES, it's a fact that can not be ignored’, — said Alexei Kokorin, head of the ’Climate and Energy’ program of WWF Russia.

For the development of the industry it is necessary to change the legislative base, including the Land and Town Planning Codes that regulate construction and operation of RES facilities. According to the Urban Planning Code of the Russian Federation, wind installations are considered to be objects of capital construction and they are subject to the same requirements as skyscrapers. However, unlike buildings, wind turbines are a type of equipment that does not require expertise in each case. According to the Land Code of the Russian Federation, it is prohibited to place RES installations on agricultural land and less than 30 km from the nearest settlement. This requirement is absurd since it leads to additional costs for the construction of power lines to consumers. At the same time the world practice speaks of the successful experience of placing wind and solar installations in fields and pastures without damage to agriculture. According to fire safety standards, two independent roads must be connected to the object, and their width should be much larger than what is actually required in operation. Road construction significantly increases the cost of projects. And these are only the most striking examples.

Abolition of excessive requirements for the construction and operation of renewable energy projects will increase their investment attractiveness and reduce the cost of alternative energy. The introduction of a national system for the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will facilitate the flow of capital from traditional energy to alternative energy, which will also give an additional impetus to the development of the industry.

The annual environmental action  ‘Earth Hour – 2018’, organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will be held under the slogan ‘Vote for Nature’. Participants will be able to vote for the most important environmental initiatives and take part in a collective message to the newly elected president. It is expected that the action will be the largest in the history of the event and about 30 million people across Russia will take part in it.

Photo in the announcement: Mikhail Bragin / WWF Russia

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Climat change Officer