As has been recently reported, The Visegrad Group Energy forum took place in the main building of Lviv Polytechnic National University. Later, the forum was held in the expert meeting format of the two countries – Ukraine and Slovakia.
Mykhailo Honchar, the President of the Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI, Alexander Duleba, the Head of the research center of the Slovak Foreigh Police Association, Miroslav Obert, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic, Yurii Pidlisnyi, the Vice-chairman of Lviv Regional State Administration, Volodymyr Hirniak, the Vice-chairman of Lviv Regional Council, Andrii Kyrchiv, the Executive Director of the Association “Energy Efficient Cities of Ukraine” and others shared with their own vision of solving the energy efficiency and energy independence problems of both countries.
There have been also enounced the interesting experience obtained in the two countries on the issues of buildings thermo-modernization, district heating, street lighting system and the ways of financing energy efficiency projects involving international investments.
During the forum we talked to Kostiantyn Hura, the Head of the Department for International Cooperation and European Integration of the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine.
– This is not a secret that any energy efficiency and energy saving measures require significant investment. Today, Ukraine is hard up. So the question arises, what can we afford under such conditions?
– Our State Agency identifies two priority directions: the development of the renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency in buildings. We are talking about private houses, apartment houses and municipal buildings for various purposes – Kostiantyn Hura said.
National Action Plan for Renewable Energy for the period until 2020 has been adopted recently. Its main task is to reach 11% of energy sources due to renewable sources. First of all, this is solar and wind energy, small hydroelectric power station, heat pumps, biomass and others. The total investment should be around 16 billion euros to achieve such index. Clearly, this is an enormous amount of money for the budget of Ukraine. Therefore there is an urgent request of attracting investment. This requires the appropriate bills. The Government and the State Agency are working on drafting such documents.
Now, there are very advantageous conditions for investors to put money in renewable energy of Ukraine. The Feed-in tariff is fixed for them. It is not set up in euros but in hryvnias (as everyone is afraid of the fluctuations in exchange rates). The regulation concerning a certain percentage of renewable energy equipment bought only in the Ukrainian producers had hampered the international investors who have already had contacts with the relevant companies out of Ukraine. And now it is also canceled. The appropriate documents which remove the obstacles are also adopted.
Currently, 890 million hryvnias have been allocated from the state budget for the implementation of the program. But, unfortunately, we have no mechanism which would allow international donors to invest directly in the budget. We are working on the creation an Energy Efficiency Fund together with The European Commission, Ministry of Regional Development and representatives of Germany. It will make the investments in this sector of economy transparent for international investors. In this case we rely on the experience gained by the Visegrad Four. Now, we have a very powerful state program supporting energy efficiency. For example, if the householders, members of the housing co-operative decided to carry out the thermo-modernization of their living quarters, they will be allotted a special credit at one of the three state financial institutions – OshchadBank, Ukrgazbank and Ukreximbank. It will give a chance to get compensation from the repayment of a credit of 20-70%. This includes the replacement of windows, doors, the installation of individual heating units, boilers that operate on solid fuels, not on gas, etc. The entire list of works is available on the website of the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine.
– But people are wary of the banking system and afraid of the credit traps…
– Such suspicion really exists. But here you have a statistics on public confidence. We started this program at the end of 2014. During the first month the mentioned above banks gave less than 100 credits. Now banks receive 200 to 300 applications for loans every day. In general the amount of credits has exceeded 1.3 billion hryvnias. People are becoming more and more aware that the warming is advantageous.