UN Radio Interview with Suren Gyurjinyan, Task Leader of UNDP-RTF Re-gional Project

On July 20, 2018 UN Radio organized an interview with Task Leader of UNDP-RTF regional project “Regulatory Framework to Promote Energy Efficiency in Countries of the Eurasian Economic Union”. The interview records are provided below.

Journalist (J): Today we are going to talk about the project on improving energy efficiency in the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Please, tell us about the project.

Suren Gyurjinyan (SG): As you have mentioned, the project is of regional scale and covers the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, i.e. Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The project is financed by the Russian Trust Fund. This is a joint initiative of the Russian Federation Government represented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the United Nations Development Program. UNDP country offices in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are the implementing partners for this project. The main goal of the project is to support EAEU countries in promoting energy efficiency. The project is implemented in the following directions: a) development of modern standards and regulations in energy efficiency; b) creation and development of a network of testing facilities in EAEU countries, independent quality control of energy consuming appliances; and c) raising awareness among consumers and other target groups about energy efficiency.

J: The project deals with modern requirements to energy efficiency in lighting, domestic appliances, and engineering equipment. What are these requirements? Can you provide examples?

SG: The project supports the introduction of new requirements to appliances both at the level of the EAEU within the framework of the Technical Regulations on the efficiency of appliances and the introduction of energy labeling system, and at the national level. These requirements can be for the common market and for separate segments of this market, for instance, for state procurement. The requirements, for example, for lightbulbs stipulate the minimum light quantity per one Watt of electric power. The introduction of the new requirements allows energy consumption decrease of up to 50 per cent for lighting devices and 10-15 per cent for other energy consuming appliances. These are significant savings.

J: For many residents of apartment houses energy saving translates as the option to reduce household running costs. In this regard switch to energy efficient technologies can be expensive for common citizens, cannot it?

SG: Thank you for your question. Energy efficient equipment is always more expensive than the less efficient devices. But if one looks at it from the point of view of operating costs, for instance, the amount of energy consumed, one can observe very fast payback period. Let’s take lightbulbs. LED bulbs today cost four times more than incandescent lamps. However, depending on energy tariffs is the EAEU countries, the payback period can be less than one year, while the lifetime of energy efficient bulbs is up to five years. This means that the investments pay back within a year and then one has four years of pure economy. While lobbying the adoption of new requirements to energy consuming devices, we try to look at it through the economic analysis: how will the new requirements affect the price of the device.

J: In this regard I wanted to inquire about energy saving potential for countries’ economies in case of switching to energy efficient devices.

SG: This potential, in case of adoption of all the requirements the project lobbies, can reach 20-25 per cent or about 10 billion-kilowatt hour per year of energy savings. This amount can be compared to a yearly energy consumption by a large city with a million of citizens.

J: Please, provide examples of concrete successes or achievements to share.

SG: The project concept is based on sharing Russian experience in energy efficiency and energy saving. These are developed standards for efficient lighting, implementation of pilot projects in budget sector (energy efficient schools and street lighting) with ESCO co-financing. Russia also has valuable experience in the creation of test laboratories, including with UNDP support. Russia’s experience in promoting energy efficient technologies among common citizens should not be forgotten too.

J: If today you would have appealed to a large audience for energy efficiency technologies, what would you tell them?

SG: I would have asked them to pay attention to energy efficiency label when buying an appliance. Ask a shop assistant to help or compare by themselves energy consumption indices. We all have noticed the rapidly spreading user friendly energy labels which provide plenty of information about energy efficiency. Letters A, A++, etc. have complex calculations of energy consumption and should not be neglected because this is important for both country’s economy and consumers’ pocket, their budget.