Green energy against climate change

Written by: Rashid Alimov and Olga Senova

Climate change is a global issue. Significant steps are being made towards a solution at both national and international levels. The reason of global warming is likely to be anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases in the XX century. And it is fuel-derived energy that uses coal, oil and gas that is the most responsible for these emissions.

As a part of the media-tour in St. Petersburg & Leningrad region on April 8, journalists got to see wind turbines in the Krasnoye Selo town, a boiler operating on wood waste in the timber proceeding enterprise in Lomonosov town and energy efficient houses in the cottage village of Kissolovo. All of these projects contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the local level and are implemented by business without any support from the state. Obviously, in case of such a support the results may be way more significant.

Alexander Entel, the president of the Krasnoe company, preferred to install a wind turbine only for idealistic reasons: energy grid company refused to provide his tile facility with additional electrical capacity. A used wind turbine was bought in Denmark for $15,000. More than $5,000 was spent on the transportation and installation. According to Entel, the 75-kilowatt wind turbine, set in 1990ies, returned the investment in six years. Now the wind turbine is connected to the grid and Krasnoe pays the grid company for the difference between the electricity used at the plant and the electricity generated by the windmill.

«If we were allowed to install a windmill, for example, on the coast, where the wind is stronger, and send that electricity to the grid there, and then receive the same amount of electricity from the network here — for us it would be much more profitable», — Entel says.

Energy can be produced from waste wood such as sawdust, shavings and bark. A boiler of Finnish design installed at the sawmilling company «Rusholz», burns wood waste, which previously was simply dumped. The boiler allows the company not only to heat their facility, but also to sell it to neighboring businesses. According to Viktor Gonchar, head of company’s facility, today 90% of the sawmills have similar boilers. According to Gonchar, his company was a pioneer, and if it were not for such boiler, the company would not be able to survive in the difficult economic circumstances. But the company plans further improvements: «Today’s equipment does not allow to burn pure bark, so the installation must be further developed», — says Gonchar.

A ’passive house’ is a form of energy-efficient homes, where heating costs are minimal. Director of the PassivHaus company Jury Gonyaev told the journalists that the idea of building a cottage village with energy-efficient houses emerged due to objective reasons: the village of Kissolovo has no gas supplies. So the task became the following: to build houses that require a minimum of electricity for heating by using German and Finnish technologies. Houses are still under construction and should be assessed after the first winter, but, apparently, the problem is solved. In addition to efficient thermal insulations, they have a half-meter thick wall (of concrete, foam and brick), a solid foundation, special windows (large windows facing south), air recuperation system (warm air leaves the building, heating metal plates which heat cold air from the street, thus saving heat) and other technical innovations.
«At minus 20 degrees Celsius outdoors, the warm house, if completely disconnected from the heat, loses only one degree of heat a day» — says Gonyaev, who as well will soon become one of the inhabitants of the cottage settlement.

The use of such energy and resourse saving technologies turns out to be both economically benefitial and contributing to solving the climate change problem. but we all can contribute, even on a household level — by using energy saving appliances, insulating windows, saving water and separating our waste.

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