‘‘Energy modernization means a triangle – decarbonization, energy efficiency, and environmental protection’ – Olena Pavlenko at URC 2022
The participants of the International Conference on Reconstruction of Ukraine (URC 2022) discussed the Recovery and Development Plan of Ukraine and the different contributions of international partners for the recovery of Ukraine. The topic of methods, priorities, and principles of recovery was also considered. As well as social, economic, environmental and infrastructure recovery from damages and losses caused by the war.
The member of EU-UA Civil Society Platform and the president of DiXi Group president Olena Pavlenko took part in the session «Environmental recovery: Going green and achieving energy security». Talking about Green Recovery she highlighted three important issues, a triangle – decarbonization, energy efficiency, and environmental protection.
‘This triangle should be applied to all projects which will be developed within the National Recovery Plan. It is not only for projects in the energy sector, but also in agriculture, industry, and transport. And then we will talk about the Green Recovery, Olena Pavlenko said. Also, Green Recovery is very expensive. It will cost much more than just rebuilding. We will have after the war many Ukrainian citizens below the poverty line. It will not be fair, or realistic to demand from these people to fund the rebuilding and modernization of Ukraine. The governments should find other sources to help Ukraine to ensure the Green Recovery’.
How can we get this money? First, she believes, that aggressor should pay for all damages. There were some statements from the EU politicians, there was a modest statement about this in the G7 communique. But more should be done.
Russian assets are in many counties, they are frozen, and they are in a form of different assents. Russian energy businesses can be nationalized and sold to international companies and money can go to rebuild Ukraine and to ensure Green Recovery actually. She took Gazprom’s gas storage facilities as an example.
‘I would propose the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine to create a working group which can calculate the damages in the energy sector, to be able to show the check to Russians when the time comes, she said.
Another source of money in the medium term is the candidate status of Ukraine.
‘As the EU candidate state, it should receive access to the Funds which members states can use. For example, the Recovery and Resilience Facility was created to help member states to deal with COVID-19 and ensure the resilience of the European countries and their readiness for green and digital transition. This Facility has 723,8 bln. Euro and can provide both loans and grants. We can also propose to open for Ukraine such instruments as Connecting Europe Facility which is designed to promote growth, jobs, and competitiveness also in the energy sector through infrastructure projects.
And third, Olena Pavlenko believes, in a long-term perspective, our green transition can be ensured by effective business projects in the energy and environment sectors. Ukraine already can export electricity, and it will help with the liquidity of the market.
Together with the governments, Ukraine can develop legislation that can get the interest of the foreign investors to come to Ukraine, and European and US countries themselves and propose support schemes to invest in Ukraine. It can be in a form of guarantees, insurance, other initiatives.
Despite the war, we should come back to the discussion on the main benchmarks of the strategic sector development to attract foreign investors. With the war, it’s hard to make any promises in a short-term perspective, but we can send a signal where we expect to have private business and where the state will keep its role, the expert said. For example, if the nuclear sector remains one of the generations in the future – how it will be organized, and who and how can invest in modern technologies.
Two elements that also should be an integral part of the rebuilding process – are speed and transparency. The speed of funding of energy projects should be might higher than before the war, otherwise, it will take several generations to implement one big project. For example, if Energy Efficiency Fund remains an instrument to fund energy efficiency projects, the process of improvement of them should be simplified, and there should be a lot more possibilities for individuals, cities, and for communities.
‘To improve the efficiency, I would propose to make the approval process simpler, while the reporting process more transparent, she stressed.
Cutting Russia’s oil and gas supply to the EU is not a temporary step for decarbonization. This should just stimulate the process of development of other sources of energy, cleaner and safer.
‘The origin of these problems is the high dependency of some countries on the authoritarian state, which used its energy resources as a weapon for decades’, says expert Olena Pavlenko.
The International Conference on Reconstruction of Ukraine (URC 2022) was held in Lugano (Switzerland) on July 4-5. The meeting was attended by representatives of 40 states and 20 international organizations, all major potential donors of the Fund for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, and representatives of the highest levels of the Ukrainian government and the public sector.