The GEF National Dialogue Belarus seminar was held in Minsk on 19 November 2018.
Iya V. Malkina, First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, and Ming Yang, GEF Senior Climate Change Specialist, made welcoming speeches at the seminar opening ceremony. The key topics of the seminar were climate change, changes in economic approaches and caring attitude to nature.
Substantial outcomes of UNDP/GEF projects, inter alia, the international technical assistance project "Removing Barriers to Wind Power Development in Belarus" were presented during the seminar.
Maryna Belavus, the project Manager, disclosed the project essence: "Such a wide-scale strategic goal [remove barriers to wind power development] at first sight appears enormous and complex; however, the project transformed it into concrete standard objectives. In other words, we virtually developed a mechanism for demonstrating how wind farms may be planned and built in keeping with the current requirements, how to engage a professional and responsible investor in the project. All the stages that we go through, such as this Project development in line with international techniques, practices and requirements, as well as search for investors and construction, form a scheme that will be replicable in future, i.e., it will be both accepted in wind and renewable energy sectors, and possibly applicable in other economy sectors in need of ecologization and greening".
The presentation was focused on the most essential areas of success. The Project Manager spoke in detail about the project component aimed at enhancement of the legislation, accumulation and processing of information: "One of the objectives successfully accomplished by the project was updating of the State Cadastre of Renewable Energy Sources. The resource was upgraded technically, and its accumulated data was updated, and now it is posted in open access on the website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. On the way of removing barriers, our project made a certain contribution to enhancement of the legislation in that area. We developed a wide range of technical regulations that had not existed in this country before. About six wind energy standards are in fact approved. The project develops a strategy of development of RES including wind energy. It is worth mentioning now that certain grid transformation processes are taking place in the Republic of Belarus due to the forthcoming appearance of a new energy source – a nuclear power plant. Naturally, the Ministry of Energy, as well as other public agencies, are now busy developing an adequate framework of standards for further functioning of our energy system. And our project puts forward specific proposals on development of renewable energy sources".
Maryna Belavus informed about research on minimizing investment risks in Belarus: "Staying in contact with a wide range of actual and prospective investors, both national and international, and used international techniques, processed a data list and obtain a clear picture of the current risks in the country. That helped develop proposals on making tools for eliminating such risks. A document showing the main business parameters in wind energy in the country was prepared.
Moreover, we keep using the research findings both in drafting legal regulations and in working with prospective investors." The presentation also reflected the outcomes of specialist training and information support efforts. Thus, the project trained about 20 persons from various engineering companies and construction organizations in working with the state-of-the-art WindPRO software: "We were happy to find out that, inspired by this training, BelEnergoSetProyekt has purchased a software package and successfully provides wind farm estimates and construction models to customers with the help of this particular software."
The Project Manager mentioned, possibly, the most important practical component – creation of conditions for investing into wind farm construction: Five sites were selected under the project; serious predesign work has been arranged there in line with international standards; predesign documents have been developed, reviewed by experts and approved; prior permits were received, as required in this country. In other words, at this stage we have come to announcing the so-called investment contest. The investor, after obtaining the asset already clear of any investment risks, will be able to build and operate a state-of-the-art facility. These are three sites in Viciebsk Region, one with 25 MW and two with 10 MW installed capacity each; and two sites in Hrodna Region, with 10 MW and 6 MW installed capacity".
Maryna Belavus concluded her speech by mentioning that the project team looks forward to the future and tries to organize its work so that the project results could make a foundation for new projects in the field of RES generation and application: "Since the very beginning of its operation, the Project has been actively cooperating with various stakeholders in renewable energy development. We are exchanging information and experience. We jointly consider how to improve our further operation, for instance, in part of e-transport development, which is deemed by specialists as a prospective area of application of wind or other renewable energy".The seminar caught the attention of a wide circle of environment and energy specialists, offering a platform for a wide discussion of the most efficient ways of combining the efforts and knowledge in order to preserve the environment and prevent negative effects of climate change.