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RICHLAND, Wash. - A global program marks a major milestone Nov. 30 when an energy efficiency center in Ukraine graduates to self-sufficiency in the fight against high energy consumption and environmental degradation.
The move represents the successful launch of six independent nongovernmental organizations in Eastern Europe and China that promote energy efficiency in transition economies. The centers were created through the Advanced International Studies Unit, or AISU, which is part of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Poor energy use pervades transition economies. In the Bohemia region of the Czech Republic, industrial plants emit cancer-causing agents at levels up to 800 times that country's acceptable limits. A Ukrainian company will use two to three times more energy than an average American company to make one ton of steel. And Russian families spend on average 25 percent of their take-home pay on heat for their apartments.
Since 1990, AISU has led the creation and business development of energy efficiency centers in China, Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic. The centers provide expertise to business and government leaders regarding environmental policy development, energy management training, technology transfer, public education and research. Pacific Northwest's AISU staff served as planning and logistics advisers for each center.
The last center to become independent is the Ukrainian Agency for Rational Energy Use and Ecology, or ARENA-ECO. This center has developed a large enough client base to operate on its own and launches into self-sufficiency on Nov. 30. One of ARENA-ECO's largest projects to date has been helping the World Bank evaluate a $40 million loan to install energy efficiency technologies in public buildings in Kiev.
Like the other centers, ARENA-ECO will continue promoting energy efficiency in a country facing high energy consumption and growing fossil fuel emission troubles.
"The high energy consumption stunts the economic growth in these countries," said Meredydd Evans, AISU senior scientist and member of ARENA-ECO's board of directors. "The energy efficiency centers play a key role in changing that dynamic to one of financial savings and environmental responsibility."
ARENA-ECO was supported with about $460,000 in core funding over four years by the Agency for International Development in collaboration with DOE. During that time, the Ukrainian center created business plans, started new projects, set up an office and developed potential business contacts.
"Now Ukraine will have a consistent, powerful voice promoting responsible energy use and environmental stewardship in business and government," said AISU Director William Chandler.
The other five centers are the Beijing (China) Energy Efficiency Center, or BECon; the Center for Energy Efficiency in Russia, or CENEf; The Energy Efficiency Center in the Czech Republic, or SEVEn; the Polish Foundation for Energy Efficiency, or FEWE; and the Energy Efficiency Center in Bulgaria, or EnEffect. Each center was founded by local experts and is nongovernmental and not-for-profit.
AID, DOE and the World Wildlife Fund provided core funding to each of the six centers. Other organizations contributing financial support to individual centers include the MacArthur Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation and W. Alton Jones Foundation.
The six centers fill a role in transition economies previously ignored by industry and government. For example, the Czech center helped an American company called Energy Performance Services win $30 million in contracts while visiting that country. And the Russian center has been implementing energy efficiency technologies in public housing in that country through a $400 million loan from the World Bank.
For more information, go to the AISU web site at http://www.pnl.gov/aisu and link to web sites for the individual centers.
Pacific Northwest is one of DOE's nine multiprogram national laboratories and conducts research in the fields of environment, energy, health sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated Pacific Northwest for DOE since 1965.
The above story is based on materials provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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