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Govt Outlines National Objective for Energy-efficiency by 2020

17 July 2013
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service

RUSSIA - The Russian government has outlined as a national objective the goal of Russia becoming 40 per cent more energy-efficiency by 2020.

While there have been previous attempts at the federal level to promote the production of biofuels, there are also a small but increasing number of activities at the regional level. The number of innovative projects aimed at production of alternative energies has increased in the past years, such as those from plant cellulose (including wood or oilseeds) and agricultural wastes, along with production of biofuel raw materials for export (including fuel pellets, rapeseeds, and rapeseed oil).

The emerging Russian biofuels industry’s export orientation is driven by continued growing demand from Europe and Asia. However, the production of biofuels still remains small and has almost no impact on Russia’s overall domestic grain and oilseed prices.

Due to its abundance of petroleum and natural gas, Russia produces a very small amount of biofuels and has minimal domestic demand. According to industry experts, Russian biofuel production will not be fully developed in the next ten years, as the sector is not considered as a national priority.

Different sources estimate that renewable energies, including biofuel, represent 1.2 per cent of Russia’s total energy production, with biomass consisting 0.5 per cent. While there are no official statistics that measure what share of total energy production biofuels account for, it is estimated that biofuels make up 5 per cent of Russia’s heating energy and 1 per cent of its electrical power.

The Russian Ministry of Energy reports that the volume of technically accessible renewable sources of energy in Russia is estimated at 24 Btoe. The share of electricity generated by renewable sources accounts for only 1 per cent, while the share of thermal energy generated from renewable resources represents 5 per cent or 3000 million Gcal. At present, Russia utilizes only 20 per cent of its economically viable hydro-energetic resources.

The Russian Ministry of Energy also reports that there are no government-backed biofuel projects in operation at this time. The majority of biofuel ventures in Russia are supported by regional governments or financed by foreign investors.

In most circumstances these projects are in the pilot phase and produce just enough biofuel to generate heat/electricity for their own facility, or for the production of organic fertilizer from agricultural waste. Currently, there is no industrial production of either bioethanol or biodiesel in Russia, except for several facilities that are operating in the regions and are supported by the regional administration or private companies.

Further Reading

You can view the USDA GAIN: Russian Federation Biofuels Annual 2013 report by clicking here.

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