Increasing the use of renewable energy sources is regarded globally, as one of the most important ways of increasing energy security and to address the environmental issues surrounding continuous growth of global energy consumption.
Over 100 nations have adopted programs and schemes aimed at developing renewable energy sources, with the general aim of 15-20% of their total energy mix being composed of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) by 2020.
Russia possesses massive reserves of traditional energy resources and is one of the largest exporters of oil and gas in the world, distributed via the Unified Power System (RAO UES of Russia). This serves as an obstacle towards developing RES in Russia. Nonetheless, this mode of distribution is outdated; currently two thirds of the country, or a population numbering approximately 20 million people, currently falls outside the established energy network. Renewable energy sources are therefore an ideal and urgent solution – a harmonious blend of centralized energy systems and an efficient use of RES.
To date, Russia has adopted fundamental policy decisions regarding the development of renewable energy and, is in the process of developing a legislative and regulatory framework designed to encourage the practical use of renewable energy sources. Nevertheless, Russia’s renewable energy market is practically embryonic, with non-conventional sources of renewable energy (excluding large hydro) failing to exceed 1% of total energy consumption. The government target of achieving 4.5% of renewables in the total energy mix by 2020 and gearing financial, political and legislative sectors to support this requires a series of developments. This includes developing government policy surrounding science and technology, identifying technologies suited to Russia’s climatic and socio-economic conditions, and catering for the various requirements of customers through the various sectors of the economy.
The Forum, a platform for issues surrounding the development of renewable energy (REENFOR) is to hold events regularly throughout the year. Initiated by the Russian Academy of Sciences, REENFOR is an important event for qualified scientific and technical discussion, the sharing of expertise and developing evidence based recommendations for executive and legislative branches of government, and energy companies and businesses in the field of renewable technologies. Recommendations are based on research conducted in Russia and abroad into the practical application of renewables.
Discussions at REENFOR will be centred round the following themes:
- The role of renewable energy in centralised, regional and independent power systems. RES and its position within Russia’s energy strategy.
- The technical and economic implementation of cutting-edge renewable technologies, looking at the conditions in which they best function and the benefits they can bring to consumers.
- Mechanisms that encourage the development of renewable energy sources - the role of both federal and regional governments and domestic and international financial institutions in this process.
- Training and retraining specialists in the field of renewable energies.
- Priority R&D projects of RES within Russian federal target programmes and technical platforms.
The idea of the Forum was supported by the Committee on Energy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation is directly involved in the development of legislation in the field of renewable energy, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, responsible for implementing large-scale federal R&D programs in the most pressing areas of science and technology. Other important departments include the Ministry of Energy. The Forum has also received support from companies central to Russia’s fuel-energy complex, including “RusHydro”, “RAO ES of EAST” and other major energy companies involved in developing RES in Russia.
The following programs have already expressed their interest in becoming partners with REENFOR:
- The International Financial Corporation (IFC)
- The Russian Technology Platform, which implements renewable energy projects including “Prospective technologies of renewable energy sources”, "Small-scale distributed power projects", “Bioenergy” and “Eco-friendly, high efficiency thermal power”
- Global Energy Non-Profit Partnership,
- We also anticipate that “Russian Venture Company”, the state Corporation “Vnesheconombank”, “Skolkovo” Foundation, “Rosnano” and other state development funds and institutions will become partners with REENFOR.
REENFOR will bring together representatives from leading international organizations, research centres and foreign companies active in the field of renewable energy. Characterised by pragmatism, the Forum aims to acquaint our partners with results of international R&D projects, practical applications of RES, and to foster positive relations and cooperation with partners interested in RES in Russia. The Forum is an excellent opportunity to discuss participation in prototype and pilot RES energy schemes and facilities in the Russian Federation. REENFOR is a platform from which agreements on scientific, technical and commercial cooperation between Russian and foreign participants can be achieved.
UNESCO and its associated regional, national and international departments actively involved in addressing problems associated with RES, is also backing REENFOR.
REENFOR will hold various youth events including conferences, seminars and contests aimed at encouraging participation from promising students (up to 30) in the areas of science, technology and business, in the field of renewable energy. Awards will be given to young specialists following recommendations from the youth program organisers, with the involvement of Global Energy, UNESCO representatives and other related participants.