EU DEBATES CAFÉ: Key solutions for strengthening the energy independence and security by increasing energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy
The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), in partnership with the EU-funded project “Visibility of the EU and EU assistance in the Republic of Moldova in 2021” and with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, organized on Thursday, October 28, 2021, on the occasion of the EU Sustainable Energy Week in the Republic of Moldova, a special edition of the online public debate in the #EUDebatesCafe format on key solutions for strengthening Moldova’senergy independence and security by increasing energy efficiency and promoting renewable energy.
The guests of the event, which was moderated by Iulian Groza, IPRE Executive Director, discussed why and how exactly increasing energy efficiency and promoting green energy generation projects can strengthen the energy security and independence of the Republic of Moldova, what are the current opportunities in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, as well as what are the constraints, problems and solutions that Moldova, the business sector, local communities and citizens could adopt in order to have access to safe and clean energy, to reduce dependence on natural gas, to increase energy efficiency and to improve thermoelectric infrastructure.
Further we present some of the key remarks of the speakers during the debate:
Alexandru Ciudin, Director of the Agency for Energy Efficiency: “In 2020, the citizens spent an enormous amount on energy utilities. More than 6 billion lei were spent on electricity, and over 3 billion lei for natural gas. This is a burden on the energy system of the Republic of Moldova. Especially taking into account the fact that practically 40% of the gas imported from Russia is used in the production of electricity. In the last 10 years, the state has focused its attention especially on energy efficiency projects, which have come to implement energy efficiency measures in public buildings. Over the last 9 years, first through the Energy Efficiency Fund, then through the Energy Efficiency Agency, 275 projects were implemented that provided for energy efficiency measures and the implementation of renewable energy measures, with a total budget of over 600 million lei”.
His Excellency Daniel Ionita, Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Moldova:“The strategic objectives pursued by Romania in its energy policies towards the Republic of Moldova are aimed at ensuring the energy security of the Republic of Moldova. For this, the effort includes the energy interconnection infrastructure with the EU, via Romania, in order to diversify the sources of supply and ensure greater energy efficiency by reducing losses. The current gas crisis is a yet another confirmation of the importance of diversifying the sources of gas and electricity supply. It is important that participation in energy projects to provide fair chances to all interested companies to enter the Moldovan market. It is crucially important to ensure the implementation of the 3rd Energy Package by the Republic of Moldova, which will support the separation of distribution and gas production activities, with benefits in terms of competition and ensuring the access of more operators to the energy market of the Republic of Moldova. The Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline is now completed and fully operational. This is indeed a success of Romania’s involvement and a viable solution for diversifying the gas supply, which is already proven in the current crisis, when the first volumes of natural gas delivered through this gas pipeline to compensate for the system pressure.”
Victor Parlicov, National Expert for Moldova, within the Project Covenant of Mayors – East, EU4Energy: “No matter how much we make commitments at government level, related to reducing emissions, energy efficiency, renewable energy, most of them, including those related to the infrastructure and everything that, in fact, ultimately influences the consumption, is done with the involvement of local public authorities. Without collaboration with them, the relevant objectives set at the central public authorities’ level will remain largely under implemented. We managed to build partnerships in which to co-finance the contributions coming from the EU with money from local public authorities, from national funds, such as the Energy Efficiency Agency, with contributions from the population, the role of the diaspora here was very important. No local budget today can afford to make investments of this size on their own.”
Nicolae Tudoreanu, Mayor of Feştelița, Stefan Voda: “If we are to make a review of the implemented projects, then we must go precisely in 2013, when we became the signatories of the European Covenant of Mayors for Energy Efficiency. At the same time, we developed an action plan on sustainable energy for our locality. So, in these eight years we’ve basically been able to implement over 90 percent of the activities. Thus, now we have entered the winter with all four biomass boilers put into operation. Thanks to the EU support, we have the solar energy power plant functional, and we received the first financial resources from the main electricity distributor. We have electricity production for the three public institutions (kindergarten, school, city hall) and the bill practically comes with zero. At the same time, smart public lighting makes a pleasant atmosphere at night for citizens, and the number of crimes has decreased at night.”
Jose Luis Gomez Pascual, Country Manager, Premier Energy: “I believe that if we talk about energy security, the first thing is that we must ensure that the electricity greed is interconnected with Romania, according to the schedule in 2024. It is very important and I know that the Government is working on this subject. The rest of the actions are mitigation measures. The second thing, in the short term, we must ensure a so-called balance, in order to obtain electricity supplies not only from Moldova, from the right and left bank of Nistru river, but also from Ukraine. If we are talking about the import of energy from Ukraine, we must have a swaying mechanism, which until now has not existed. The next electricity contract will come into force on February 1, 2022, and until then we must have that balancing mechanism in place, because otherwise we will purchase most of the electricity from Cuciurgan. Thus, if we talk about diversification, we must put Ukraine first and for this we must have fair rules of game and balance, and this is what ANRE must deal with.”
Irina Plis, President of the Alliance for Energy efficiency and Renewables (AEER), Manager of the EU-funded project “Rehabilitation of educational buildings in Cantemir – CanTREB”: “AEER, together with the Cantemir City Hall, is currently implementing a project, funded by the EU, for the thermal rehabilitation of institutional buildings. We have four buildings, and the project includes a number of extensive measures, which includes the insulation of facades, the rehabilitation of heating systems. We also have an objective to diversify the energy sources used by producing electricity from solar energy and thermal energy from biomass. At the moment, four solar stations with a capacity of 5 KW have already been installed and a biomass plant with a capacity of 250 KW has already been built. Given all these measures, we expect that at all these institutions the energy consumption will be reduced to 30% and more money will remain in the budget of the institutions. At the moment, we see that thanks to solar energy, electricity costs, such as kindergarten, we have savings of even 80%”.”
Roman Ciubaciuc, Mayor or. Cantermir: “If we are to talk concretely about the projects implemented now in the field of energy, it is the comfort we have in schools and kindergartens is already seen. As we enter into the winter, we have the key public buildings thermally insulated and the temperature in the institutions corresponds to the established norms. I would like to mention that by raising the level of comfort we have also less expenses, which gives us the opportunity for the public money to remain with us to solve other questions. Another good part of energy efficiency is the reduction of CO2 emissions. We know that globally it is a big problem and I understand that what we do cannot radically change the situation, but, step by step, every member of the community, the city hall, can make the air cleaner.”
The event was organized within the project “EU DEBATES CAFÉ: Advancing knowledge and expertise on EU institutions and policies in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by IPRE, in cooperation with hanns Seidel Foundation in the Republic of Moldova and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.