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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

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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