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Germany Offers Blueprint for Energy Use

Published: February 12, 2014 (Issue # 1797)



  • Russia has the potential to provide up to a third of its total energy consumption from renewable resources.
    Photo: Rainier Lippert / Wikimedia Commons

As Russia seeks new ways of stimulating economic growth, the Economic Development Ministry under Alexei Ulyukayev in late January issued a plan to foster competition in the non-natural resource sectors, support investment by Russian companies and promote the development of human capital. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised more than 21 billion rubles ($597 million) to help small and medium enterprises, plus tax breaks and a Federal Guarantee Fund that facilitates credit financing for businesses.

Medvedevs stimulus package focuses on businesses in manufacturing, services and research. However, economic development could also be promoted by initiatives that establish a decentralized energy supply.

Related: Green Solutions Follow Major Investment

The Russian prime ministers strategy could benefit from looking to Germanys Energiewende, an energy policy used as an economic stimulus, as a framework for jumpstarting Russias stagnant economy. The central European nations approach includes phasing out nuclear energy, decarbonizing the energy supply and promoting decentralized, renewable energy. These decentralized energy provisions contributed 10.7 billion euros to the German economy in 2011, according to estimates from the Institute for Ecological Economy Research. The installation, operation and maintenance of these energy facilities have been seen to be important drivers of local employment.

In Germany, these communal energy services are organized as co-operatives. Between 2001 and 2012, their number increased from 66 to 656, spread throughout the country. The German Renewable Energies Agency estimates that these energy co-operatives have invested around 1.2 billion euros in so-called citizens power plants, including solar power, wind, and biomass.

Related: Russian Companies Go Green

By all accounts, Russias power supply structure needs a fundamental overhaul. Until 2030, the total capital investment required in generation capacity and grid infrastructure could well exceed 500 billion euros, according to official estimates in Russias Energy Strategy to 2030, which was approved by the government of the Russian Federation in 2009. Initiatives like promoting energy co-operatives could also help stabilize Russias ailing transmission and distribution network, because they are the first step to creating largely autonomous island systems that need less energy from outside their boundaries.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldnt miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norways largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianitys holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the deserts most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDAs Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBAs Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.