Russia’s government has given its energy efficiency policies a push forward; the new policy initiatives are being driven largely by the imperative of technological modernization and rising energy prices at home. Is energy efficiency an area where practical cooperation between the EU and Russia could expand? What and where is the potential for cooperation and what are the barriers to it? The event marks the launch of the FIIA Working Paper “Forever a Pilot: Assessing cooperation in energy efficiency between Russia and the EU” by Dr Vadim Kononenko.
Opening remarks and Chair
Dr Arkady Moshes, Programme Director, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Mr Andreas Klein, Head, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Riga Office
Dr Vadim Kononenko, Researcher, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
A View from Brussels
Ms Ruta Baltause, Policy Officer, DG Energy, Unit for International Energy Relations and Enlargement, European Commission
A View from Germany
Dr Petra Opitz, Manager, DIW econ, the Consultancy company of the German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin
Summary of the seminar
After the opening of the seminar by Dr Arkady Moshes and Andreas Klein, Dr Vadim Kononenko presented his topical study on EU-Russia cooperation on energy efficiency. The Russian energy efficiency cooperation project is not a new phenomenon. It begun over ten years ago but Russia has been a reluctant partner. It has lacked incentives and progress has been based only on pilot projects. However, in the recent times, also decision makers have started to talk about energy efficiency, and several European countries have established energy clubs or centers with Russia. Russia has developed its energy efficiency legislation and founded an energy efficiency office in Moscow. Russia’s current goal is to increase energy efficiency by 40% between 2007-2020. Dr Kononenko asked whether this could be the moment leading to a deeper cooperation between EU and Russia .
In his study, between 2010-2011, Dr Kononenko interviewed 41 persons from Finland, Germany, Brussels and Russia. The interview question was “How is the political dialogue between Russia and the EU in energy efficiency organized?”
Kononenko found three different purposes for the dialogue. First, the dialogue has a strategic goal of helping Russia to justify energy-saving measures and programs. Second, the dialogue is to ensure that pilot projects will generate more projects. Third, the dialogue is aimed at bringing the EU and Russia closer together with approximation of legislation and standards. In overall, the dialogue is organized more through bilateral discussions.
Dr Kononenko stated that there is enough institutions of cooperation between the EU and Russia. They are also relatively well developed. Thus the volume and intensity of the dialogue is high enough and “There is no need for talkshops”. However, the communication between EU member states concerning energy efficiency and Russia related matters could work better. In addition, the synergy between various bilateral energy clubs should be improved. There is a gap between the project level and political dialogues and thus the links between the two levels should be strengthened.
The policy dialogue within the European Union cannot overcome the structural barriers on the Russian side. For example it cannot effect the energy prices. also In addition, it cannot drastically change Russian domestic institutional environment for instance by improving the capacity of the regions or municipalities, can it create economic incentives for European investors or provide institutional support to every project.
All together, policy dialogue is an important channel for cooperation on energy efficiency with Russia but it has a limited potential for improving the internal barriers and therefore generating projects. Russia also has other interests like developing its relations with China and Japan.
Ruta Baltause spoke vastly about EU’s commitment for energy efficiency and the interconnection of energy networks. Baltause outlined several ongoing processes in the EU-Russia energy efficiency field (for example the EU-Russia 2050 Energy Roadmap).
Petra Opitz also saw improvements in energy efficiency matters in Russia but progress is dragging behind because of ongoing modernization process. Opitz underlined the importance of incentives in the energy efficiency process. Current knowledge needs to be linked with economic incentives. Energy efficiency can only be developed if there is private sector interest e.g markets. Energy efficiency could also be a new engine of economy and that is why new technologies must be linked to energy efficiency issues.
Ruta Baltause’s presentation (pdf)[right click, save as]
Petra Opitz’s presentation (pdf)[right click, save as]
Vadim Kononenko’s presentation (pdf)[right click, save as]