President points to more energy efficient future

President Medvedev says households and industries need to reduce energy consumption. Visiting the city of Naberezhnye Chelny he saw first hand the efforts at promoting energy efficiency.

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Hi-tech insulating paint on pipes, modern water meters…President Medvedev is exploring the basement of an energy efficient house in the Russian republic of Tatarstan. The city of Naberezhnye Chelny is a leader in conserving water resources. Speaking with schoolchildren he notes their experience in introducing meters is a route the rest of Russia could follow.

“We are very impressed with how you meter everything, such clever pipes down there. So we came to learn from your experience.”

Russia on average consumes 3 times more energy per person than in the developed world. The country wants to attract $300 billion of investment into improving energy efficiency. As part of that effort, the government could provide loan guarantees for companies wishing to modernize, according to Minister for Economic Development, Elvira Nabiullina.

“We are considering introducing energy saving performance contracts. It's a new institution for our country. And it will become popular only if banks are involved. Sberbank has already started developing the products, which we hope will attract private investors.”

The Russia of today was built in Soviet times.. 90% of all power stations were built before the 90S, as well as 83% of all private homes and more than half of community heating systems. But it’s not just infrastructure, many household goods are out dated and inefficient.

A 30 year old Soviet fridge eats 4 times as much energy as a new one does. The government wants to encourage people to get rid of 40 million refrigerators older than 15 years replacing them with new energy efficient ones. The first step will be labeling all electric devices with their energy efficiency class – a practice adopted in Europe 15 years ago.

Medvedev lamented that was the time when Russia should have started thinking of saving resources.