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The development of renewable energy sources or RES remains one of the priorities recognized by law in Belarus. According to the decree of the Council of Ministers No. 1593, in 2012, 25% of production of electrical and heat energy shall be obtained through the use of local fuel types and alternative energy sources.
All types of renewable energy technologies function in the republic today. It is safe to say that the greatest prospect in the republic is represented by hydro and wind power.
Potential of renewable energy sources in Belarus
The aspect of renewable energy in Belarus was founded in the middle of the XX century with the use of the energy of water at hydroelectric power stations. Currently, the technical hydro potential of the republic is estimated at 2.5 billion kW∙h/year, implemented at small hydroelectric power stations with installed capacity of 31.7 MW (2012), and the total annual output of about 120 million kW∙h.
The second type are HEPS, the unitary average power of which is measured in megawatts. The largest hydroelectric power station of Belarus is the Grodno station (17 MW, 84.4 million kW∙h) which was put into operation in 2012.
The wind power potential of the republic is estimated at 220 billion kW∙h. In May 2011, the first wind-driven power plant in the country and the highest in CIS (2 km from Navahrudak) with a capacity of 1.5 MW was launched. Wind-power units with capacities of 250 kW and 600 kW built in the beginning of the 2000s near Lake Narač can also be considered serious plants. They produce enough electricity which is sold to the national electric energy system with a mark-up factor.
Use of wood and wood wastes
In 2012, the use of wood materials for the production of heat energy and electricity amounted to 3.10 million tons of coal equivalent. The transfer of energy sources to local fuel types is put under centralized state control. In Belarus, it is perspective to develop and support the participation of small private business in wood production for fuel needs. Among the pilot projects transferred to wood fuel were the Asipovičy mini-TPP and the Vilejka mini-TPP. About 50 more boiler-houses have been constructed or reconstructed recently.
The first samples of heat pumps which use the real energy of the earth, enhance it and bring it to the state required for water heating and heating of premises have already been created in Belarus.
This vector has a great perspective in our country with a huge potential of livestock breeding and large-scale processing of agricultural products.
The main aspects in the production of energy from biomass are:
Use of garden waste as fuel is a brand new aspect of energy saving for the Republic of Belarus. The total potential of the project is estimated to be worth 1.46 million tons of standard fuel per year. Potential receiving of commercial biogas from livestock complexes amounts to 160 thousand tons of standard fuel per year.
State inventory of renewable energy sources (RES)
The state inventory of renewable energy sources (RES), which includes information on the assessment of the “alternative” energy potential of the territory of the republic and the increase of the efficiency of the use of RES, has been created in Belarus.
The inventory allows legal entities and individual entrepreneurs (RES owners) to enter and update information on their existing sites and facilities for the use of RES, as well as to receive an electronic certificate confirming the origin of the energy.
According to information contained in the inventory, as of today there are 232 units on renewable energy forms, the installed capacity of which amounts to 288.9 MW, functioning in Belarus. A significant part of the objects — 156 — work on wood energy and other types of biomass, as well as on the energy of natural water flows (38).
Among RES used in the republic, 14 facilities work on solar energy, 14 — use the energy of biogas, 7 objects — wind energy and 3 facilities — heat energy of the earth.
The existing RES objects help save over 313,602.552 coal equivalent per year.
The database of the state inventory of RES also contains information about:
Investments in renewable energy in Belarus
According to legislative documents, the producers of energy from RES have the right to:
There are significant benefits and preferences for investors, among which are
A high level of coverage of the country by state-owned energy networks, as well as a significant energy consumer base — heavy industries – are considered favorable factors for investments in the sphere.