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Energy saving: complex approach at industrial enterprises

The fundamentals of an energy saving policy were laid in 1996 with the adoption of the first Russian law on energy saving. But for a long time the topic of energy saving was kept in the background. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, in Russia lighting consumes about 14% of all electricity (137 per year), of which a considerable part is necessary for the industrial sector. Significant energy efficiency potential lies precisely in upgrading lighting systems.

Despite the large amount of finance and successful implementation of pilot projects to improve energy efficiency, the process itself is largely stalled. There are several reasons, first of all, the uncertainties of financing for energy saving work. Federal Law № 261 involves several funding mechanisms. One of them is the provision of subsidies from the federal budget. But as a rule, it is difficult for the enterprise to get subsidies. In the regions, there are energy saving funds / centers that should address the issue of funding energy saving activities. However, their budgets are small, and the support is limited to small- and medium-sized businesses.

There is another way, provided by the same Federal Law № 261. This is the conclusion of commercial energy-service contracts. In this case, the company concludes agreement with a special energy service company (ESC) for the implementation of energy-saving technologies. Payment for work is done by the customer after the project implementation, by the savings resulting from energy efficiency of their facilities.

This mechanism is widely used in the West. Thus, the market size in the U.S. is about $3.5 billion a year. Payback period is 4-10 years, and the power consumption is reduced by 26-42%.

In Russia, the situation is different — the implementation of energy services is not so popular, but the first contracts have shown to be effective. The market of energy service contracting is in its early stage of development and is limited to highly profitable projects with a short (up to 3 years) payback period.

There are objective reasons: ESC usually do not have the means to implement fairly large projects that are typical for the industry. And customers are limited by the amount of the required working assets. As a result, the ESC usually work according to co-financing schemes, leasing schemes and offer payment by installments under the contracts.

But in the near future, the situation may change drastically. Federal Law 261 is to be amended concerning the governing conditions of the energy service contracts. The Supervisory Board of Foreign Trade Bank (Vnesheconombank (VEB) ) has approved the establishment of the Russian Energy Financing Agency — an organization that will provide financial and technical support to ESC, that will alleviate the problem concerning lack of funding.

Today, the energy services market is in its initial stage of development, but ESC already offers a range of services. The company "AtomSvet", which is both a manufacturer of LED lighting systems and the ESC, offers not only the designing and manufacturing of LED lighting systems, but also solutions for the transition to energy-efficient lighting systems with a project financial scheme.

According to the "AtomSvet" Executive Director, Vadim Dadyka, energy service contracts as a form of co-financing of projects on lighting upgrading, have a number of advantages. Energy audit, calculation of costs, feasibility study, design, supply, installation are made by the energy service company. Payment is made by the customer by means of savings in a percentage ratio of the savings result. Thus, at the beginning, when implementing a complex of energy-saving events, an equity investment is not required from the customer.

According to estimates of the joint-stock commercial Savings Bank of the Russian Federation (Sberbank), till 2015 about 3.5 trillion rubles will be invested in energy saving projects, of which at least 2 trillion rubles will be a possible amount for debt financing. And most of these activities can be carried out with the use of energy service contracts. Thus, the energy saving programs in the nearest future will move finally to commercialization. And that means there will be an effective incentive for the implementation of an energy saving programs.

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