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20.09.13 - 26.09.13

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Georgia hosts fourth international energy forum

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Georgia needs to work out an energy development and security strategy as well as develop a draft law on energy efficiency and renewable energy, said Kakha Kaladze, Georgia’s Minister of Energy as he opened the fourth international forum: Energy for Sustainable Development.

The forum, held September 17-19 in Tbilisi, focused on exploring the policies and legislation needed to support energy efficiency improvements, accessing cleaner energy, financing energy efficiency, and energy efficiency in buildings and infrastructure.

“It very important for us to listen and learn from the experiences of other countries. In order to learn more, we organize joint meetings, seminars and conferences and share ideas,” said Dimitri Kumsishvili, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development.

Over 200 delegates from more than 25 countries participated in the three-day forum jointly organized by the Government of Georgia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The first forum was held in Kazakhstan, the second in Tajikistan and the third in Kirgizstan. This forum was a follow-up to the International Sustainable Energy Forums held in 2010-2012 in Central Asia. It supports the objectives of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

According to Inita Paulovica, Acting Resident Representative for UNDP Georgia, the country has huge potential in energy savings. “Such conferences are very important for developing countries to learn more from EU countries and take it into practice,” Paulovica said.

Ruzan Alaverdyan , Deputy Minister of Urban Development of Armenia, overviewed energy efficiency policy in Armenia saying that up to now, the government with the help of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) works to promote energy efficiency implementation in housing and is raising awareness of this topic among people. “My country doesn’t have oil and natural gas resources, we import them from Russia. To know how to save money and energy is a very crucial topic for us,” Alaverdyan said.

Another speaker at the forum was Siarhei Siamashka, Belarusia’s Vice Chairman of the State Committee on Standardization, and Director of the Department for Energy Efficiency. According to him, the country adopted several laws on energy efficiency, including the Law on Energy Conservation (1998); the Law on Renewable Energy Sources (2010); and the Energy Safety Concept (2007). “However, the country was not ready,” Siamashka said. From 2011-2015, Belarus plans to spend $9 billion on this sector. “To move on energy efficiency strategy it’s very difficult, as we need to modernize the old Soviet-style heating systems,” he said, adding that “engineering also still remains a big problem.”

Raimbek Mamyrov, Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry of Kyrgyzstan, said that his country’s geography – mostly mountainous regions – creates a good opportunity for hydro-energy production. “All our produced energy remains in the country,” Mamyrov said, and noted that self-sufficiency helps them keep tariffs on electricity low.

Haydar Kholov, Deputy Minister of Energy and Industry from Tajikistan, said that his country has green energy potential as well- HPPs. According to him, consumption was raised by 1,000 mgv, by building small HPPs throughout the country. “We have good experience in producing wind and solar energy. In several regions we started to build these plants, aiming to export electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said, adding that “to implement these projects the country will benefit and will have an opportunity to solve some of their social problems.”

According to the Georgian Ministry of Energy, the country has excellent wind energy potential, which is estimated to be able to annually generate 4 billion kilowatt-hours.

George Abulashvili, the Director of the Energy Efficiency Centre Georgia (EEC), a non-profit NGO working to promote energy efficiency issue in the country, confirmed Georgia’s capacity to use both enough hydro and renewable energy resources.

However, Abulashvili added that declarations alone do not help. According to him, Georgia needs to adopt legislation on the issue, as the existing legislation is old and doesn’t meet international standards. Pointing to the need for special recommendations, he continued by saying “the country has very different climate zones, so it’s important to know what type of house to build in the mountainous Kazbegi region and what kind of house to build in the Dedoplistskaro region.”

“Many construction and developer companies say that to build a house with energy-saving materials raise prices. However, according to the research, if the company in the early planning stages takes into consideration the use of such materials, the price on a per-square meter will be increased only by 5%,” he told Georgia Today.

The forum also hosted plenary sessions: energy efficiency in the housing sector and investments in energy efficiency and cleaner energy projects in the context of climate change mitigation and sustainable development. In addition, four thematic workshops: Policies and Legislation to Promote Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Technologies in the Caucasus region; A Road Map to the Energy Efficient Residential Sector; Case Studies on Policy Reforms to Promote Financing Energy Efficiency Investments and Advanced Energy Efficiency Technologies and Sustainable Energy Challenges and Opportunities in Countries in Transition, were organized within the forum.

By Nino Edilashvili

19.09.2013

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