The EU supports the use of sustainable energy in the Republic of Moldova
The Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), in partnership with the project „ Visibility of EU and EU Assistance in the Republic of Moldova”, Privesc.Eu and with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation – Republic of Moldova, organized on Thursday, June 25, 2020, the sixth #EUDebatesCafe online video conference dedicated to the development of energy efficiency projects. The event was organized within the European Sustainable Energy Week 2020.
The guest speakers referred to the objectives that are or will be set by the National Energy Efficiency Program 2011-2020 and post-2020, who are the main beneficiaries of energy efficiency projects and what results have been achieved so far, which is the development potential of renewable energy in the Republic of Moldova, what share of heat / electricity consumption could be covered by renewable energy, what is the role of the EU in supporting energy efficiency projects in the Republic of Moldova and what initiatives have been implemented so far.
Please find below the key interventions of the speakers:
Gintautas Baranauskas, Deputy Head of Operations Section, EU Delegation in the Republic of Moldova: “The EU is a leader in renewable energy, environmental sustainability and tackling climate change. Thus, the European Commission has proposed that Europe should become the largest climate-neutral economy by 2050. In this regard, the European Commission has launched an instrument aimed at changing environmental challenges, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, economic growth and the EU’s economic recovery agenda, which is based on a strong economic logic. Moreover, the Association Agreement between the EU and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the Eastern Partnership, also plays an important role in our joint efforts to achieve sustainability. This year, the EU has allocated more than 800 million euros for Eastern Partnership projects in the field of sustainable energy. The Republic of Moldova is making progress in the diversification of energy resources and in terms of increased energy security. The EU, together with the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is preparing an ambitious energy efficiency program for public buildings, especially hospitals, and about 50 million euros will be invested in the form of a grant. I would like to point out that investing in clean and sustainable energy brings more well-being and jobs, as well as addressing social and environmental issues in the post-pandemic recovery period. Energy efficiency, in particular, and the energy efficiency of buildings will have a positive economic impact.”
Călin Negură, Head of Energy Policy Department, Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure: “The EU is the main partner and provides substantial support for exploiting the potential use of renewable energy resources. This potential was the basis for the sustainable development of the energy system. The authorities are pursuing the development of the legal framework, in line with European objectives. This year we celebrate 10 years since the creation of the Energy Efficiency Agency, the main body that implements this state policy. At the beginning of next year we will make evaluations of this long period. At the moment, the estimations show that the achievements can be qualified at a satisfactory level. In some areas it is better, while others can be improved. These are obviously caused by multiple factors, both objective and subjective, but there are still many challenges in terms of implementation capabilities, both at the central and local level. We are the first country that has transposed the energy efficiency directive and we are in the process of implementing it. This year, with the EU support, we will take part in a goal-setting exercise for 2030 and the vision for 2050. We will try to assess the capacity to meet EU targets. At this moment, we have, with the support of international partners, a series of very important projects that will contribute, including in the field of sustainable energy.”
Christian Ballaro, Project Manager for Energy, Climate Change and Regional Development, EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova: “The basis of our cooperation, indeed, is the Association Agreement, which is the legal basis, and the Republic of Moldova is progressing quite well in transposing European legislation. For the EU, the most important element is the quality of life of its citizens and we invest in it when we talk about energy. The energy sector has a number of perspectives, this is about transport energy interconnections etc. The EU has provided substantial investments to the Republic of Moldova to improve networks. Thus, over the last 15 years, over one hundred million euros have been invested in improving the networks. At the same time, today, an investment of 40 million euros is being implemented, awarded as a grant, in order to expand the connection at the border with Romania, being the Iași-Chisinau gas pipeline. Furthermore, a lot has been invested in renewable energy, such as biomass, solar energy, photovoltaic panels – projects implemented by UNDP Moldova. Conditions have been created, including for local biomass production, and this project is not completed. In my opinion, investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy is an economic and extremely important driving force.”
Irina Plis, President of the Alliance for Energy Efficiency and Renewables (AEER): “We are the winners of the European Union Award for Sustainable Energy in the Eastern Partnership, which was awarded to a project for the modernization of street lighting in the cities of Ocnita and Cantemir. Within the project, a system was implemented, which is a premiere for the Republic of Moldova and which allows street lighting operators to monitor street lighting remotely, through mobile networks. Thanks to a grant from the European Union, about 800 street lamps have been replaced and an intelligent street lighting management and operation system has been created. Such intelligent technology, in combination with LED lamps, saves over 30% of electricity consumption. By modernizing the street lighting, the cities of Ocnita and Cantemir will contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions by about two hundred tons per year. We are currently monitoring the operation of the system and we can confirm that the 30% savings are real. Another project, launched in 2018 with EU support, involves the thermal rehabilitation of educational institutions in the city of Cantemir. This includes a series of extensive measures involving the insulation of building facades, rehabilitation of heating systems, installation of photovoltaic panels, solar collectors for hot water, installation of biomass-based thermal power plants, etc.
Victor Parlicov, National Expert for Moldova within the Draft Eastern Mayors Convention, EU4Energy: “The project Eastern Mayors Convention is one that supports local public authorities. This initiative is currently in the process of merging to create the Global Convention of Mayors. No matter how much governments assume the dimensions of sustainable energy, the main events are the responsibility of local public authorities in this field. However, the Government can support those who have voluntarily taken up the agenda and localities can receive support, including financial support from the EU. This initiative has been extended to the Eastern Partnership and is becoming a global initiative. If I have to refer to the topic of the debate, I can say that, indeed, we are good in the field of legislation, but we have problems in terms of implementation. Within the Eastern Mayors Convention, we launched the sustainable development platform, where we bring to round-table discussion representatives of local public authorities, central authorities and other international partners. The purpose of this dialogue is to eliminate those constraints that hinder the implementation of projects. The main incentives for investment in energy efficiency depend on our international commitments, and at this point the role of the EU is crucial. At the same time, the main barriers are on three dimensions: money absorption capacity, financial supply and contextual barriers that affect both supply and demand. When these barriers are overcome, things will go much easier.”
Valentin Arion, Professor, Faculty of Energy and Electrical Engineering, TUM: “We are at a stage of essential change in the energy system. In this context, I want to point out a few points. First, Moldova has been part of the energy community for 10 years. During this time, we have obtained a political and legislative framework in the field of energy. Secondly, the energy community secretariat takes care of us constantly – it monitors us, guides us, offers us help through various projects, etc. The phenomenon of climate change and the greenhouse effect is a great danger and requires harsh, urgent measures with very high costs, which in a way will require us to position ourselves on the same line on a long term. Thus, the EU manifests itself as a leader, who comes with resources to change these things. There are two main directions to reduce emissions, but in one sentence we can say that humanity needs to consume less energy. Yes, we can reduce primary energy consumption a lot as long as it does not affect the quality of life. Thus, we have two solutions. Firstly, we will streamline all processes, first producing them and then bringing them to consumers. Secondly, we will streamline all technological processes so that they require lower energy consumption. However, we must be aware that reducing consumption through energy efficiency costs a lot of money and we have to replace classic fossil fuels with natural energy resources.”
Nicolae Tudoreanu, Mayor, Feștelița village: “Our village is one with an average population and the resources allocated from the budget are not enough for all the needs of the community. We are a poorly developed community and any support provided by international partners is welcome. The Alliance for Energy and Renewable Efficiency was our mentor, who guided us to be pioneers in the field of energy efficiency. All the buildings in our town are built in the late 70’s, a time when squandering was a disaster. There was tons of coal in every public building, and the heat losses were very high. The energy efficiency plan we have already developed is yielding results. Within it, we have five priorities – smart street lighting; four biomass thermal power plants, we also planted poplar and willow energy on our own land, so that we have our own biomass; we plan to install solar collectors for water heating in the kindergarten; construction of the park with photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 300 kw, which is the most ambitious project. You should know that in this exercise we attracted two more international projects, among which the thermal insulation of the local school. Thus, our plan is practically realized, and the benefits are visible in the bills we receive.”
The event was organized within the project “EU DEBATES CAFÉ: “The advancement of knowledge and expertise on EU institutions and policies in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by IPRE in cooperation with the Hanns Seidel Foundation in the Republic of Moldova and with the financial support of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.