Experts Debate the Future of Energy and Heat Supply of Russian Territories

15 june 2015

The report titled “Reserves in Urban Heat Supply Systems” drafted with the help of the Analytical Center was presented to industry experts at the Institute of National Economy Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The report caused a lot of debate among the specialists. Even among professionals there is a broad range of opinions about what the energy infrastructure of future cities should be like. Should it be completely green or do we still need to use fuel? What key changes in the energy sector have we seen recently and what impact are they having on reliability and efficiency?

The report takes an in-depth look at the causes of the crisis in the urban heat and energy supply systems, analyses up-to-date heat supply schemes for towns and outlines key principles for the new organization of energy supply.

Approaches to supplying cities and towns with heat must take into account a variety of factors and must be based on a clear understanding of the underlying physical processes and engineering principles. It makes no sense to rely on one-size-fits-all management and engineering solutions when planning the modernization of urban energy infrastructure: individual features must be taken into account and the situation must be analysed from every possible angle.

The Analytical Center’s Expert Evgeny Gasho suggested a number of principles for the new organization of energy systems that will allow designers to take into account individual features while abiding by engineering and economic logic.

The report paid less attention to economic mechanisms because they are specified in the regulation system. However, those are not particularly effective. One reason for that is because economists and managers ignore the input they get from engineers and energy experts and economic models do not reflect the physical sense of the underlying processes and are not based on reliable data.

Are heat supply problems key for the Russian heat energy industry or should we also consider the problems faced by small towns and settlements, for which such issues are insignificant? How important is institutional transformation? Can all problems be solved by changing the rate policy? How can we establish communication between the expert community and the decision makers? Who is the source of initiative in the heat and energy reform today? Is heat supply a state service or a business? There are no quick and instant answers for any of these questions.

Still these issues need to be resolved. On June 18, the Analytical Center will host a big expert debate on Ways to reform heat supply in Russia. During the debate experts will talk about the current problems with heat supply and look into the prospects of implementing the measures included in the Action Plan “Introducing the Target Model of the Thermal Energy Market”. (Decree of the Russian Government No. 1949-r dated October 2, 2014).

Participants will include representatives of federal and regional executive bodies, heat supply organizations, utility companies, expert organizations and the academic community.