In this article, we look at wind energy in Belarus and how the European Union is currently helping the country in this area.
The European Union is one of the world’s leaders in the area of wind energy production. Based on forecasts by the European Wind Energy Association, by 2020, energy produced by wind will be enough to cover 17% of the EU's needs. One Member State, Denmark, already covers almost half of its electricity needs with the help of wind turbines.
Belarus, meanwhile, is starting to follow in the footsteps of its European neighbours. As it stands, around 80 wind turbines, both state-owned and private, are producing energy in the country. However, according to expert assessments, there are also about 2,000 suitable platforms where wind energy can be produced. This means the country has the potential to produce 23 times as much energy as it currently produces from wind. The progress can already be seen; in 2016, Belarus generated 75 times more power from wind than in 2010. In terms of the total electricity consumed in Belarus, the share of electricity produced by wind energy is starting to increase.
Navahrudak District – home to one of the country's highest points – is the leader in this sector. Local authorities are gambling on wind energy, attracting investment in the area and participating in international projects. It is also home to the country’s oldest wind farm, which produces enough energy to cover a quarter of the district's electricity needs.
Within the framework of the EU4Energy Initiative, the European Union is supporting the development of wind energy in Belarus. To this end, the EU financed the purchase and installation of a new wind turbine near Grabniki village, Navahrudak District. The turbine was delivered from Germany and installed this spring, and is now producing clean, renewable energy for Belarusian consumers.
According to Anton Tabachkov, an engineer who works at the construction company that designed the turbine: “The turbine can produce up to 7 million kilowatt-hours of electrical energy per year. This is enough to provide about 5,000 families with electricity. It is the tallest and one of the most powerful at the wind farm. In addition, this is the first, brand new European-made installation we have on the platform.”
The district started working with green energy six years ago, when it joined the European Union's Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. A special climate strategy has already been developed in Navahrudak, and the city plans to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2020. The area is putting its trust in wind energy.
As Dmitry Martynenko, an engineer with a wind turbine construction company, explains:
“Navahrudak is the most favourable place in Belarus weather-wise for wind power. There are already over ten turbines operating in this district. The new one installed under the EU project has only been recently gone into service after being equipped with motion detectors to ensure its smooth operation.”
Natalya Byvshuk, from the local college in Navahrudak, says: “It is great that we have a wind farm in our district. Building on the experience of our European neighbours shows how energy can be made literally from air.”
Navahrudak is good an example for authorities and businesses from other regions of Belarus. Now, wind energy is being developed near Minsk and Mahilyow too. Before, single wind turbines were installed in the country, but now wind farms with modern equipment are being created thanks to projects like the one in Navhrudak. Initiatives like these are helping the country to transition to clean energy sources, consume less fossil fuels and reduce environemental pollution.
The EU4Energy initiative promotes energy saving, energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries, including Belarus. This helps energy become cheaper and more affordable to citizens, state establishments and businesses. To learn more about the initiative, go to www.eu4energy.eu.
Author: Anton Rodnenkov