The United States and Russia have an extensive dialogue on issues of energy and energy efficiency aimed at spurring innovation and stimulating the scientific development needed to address the global energy challenges of the 21st century. The U.S.-Russia Energy Working Group, one of several initiatives under the Bilateral Presidential Commission, supports this dialogue and the deployment of clean energy technologies and services. This cooperation is also implemented through a range of activities including public-private partnerships, city-to-city pairings, trade missions, and university links. These efforts endeavor to promote growth in the Russian and U.S. economies and assist in reducing national levels of carbon emissions by implementing advanced technologies, mobilizing financial resources, and facilitating creative energy management solutions.
Under the Smart Grid pilot project, the cities of San Diego and Belgorod are sharing best practices and technical information to improve efficiency in electric power systems and reduce emissions. In May 2011, San Diego, Belgorod, and their respective utilities signed a protocol of intent outlining priority areas of cooperation including power distribution automation, and exchanging best practices in business processes and critical infrastructure security. The U.S. Agency for International Development is working with the Russian Energy Agency to fund a joint U.S.-Russian Study on Legal/Regulatory, Market, Consumer and Technical Impediments to Smart Grid Technology Deployment.
The United States and Russia have held technical workshops to lay the groundwork for a second Smart Grid pairing between Kaliningrad and a U.S. city.
Building on the Smart Grid partnerships, the United States and Russia plan to establish a “Smart Cities” partnership to integrate principles of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability into urban planning. Under this partnership, benchmarks will be defined to achieve sustainable urban growth. Innovative municipalities would share best practices on meeting these benchmarks for energy efficiency and “smart” planning to lower energy costs, enhance public services, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, thus stimulating local job growth and economic development.
Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings
Russia’s new energy efficiency law calls for a 15 percent reduction of energy consumption in public buildings by 2014. The United States and Russia are working together to share lessons learned in utilizing energy performance contracts to improve efficiency in municipal public buildings, including a pilot project with Honeywell and the City of St. Petersburg. Under the project, Honeywell is scheduled to begin the first phase of an energy efficiency audit of Hospital No. 2 in St. Petersburg. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation has indicated an interest in financing the project.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Russia’s Gazprom are collaborating to implement cost-effective methane mitigation technologies to reduce pipelines leakages, energy waste and harmful carbon emissions.
Energy Efficiency Trade Missions
The U.S. Commercial Service and the Department of Energy organized an Energy Efficiency Trade Mission of 12 U.S. companies to Moscow and St. Petersburg led by Under Secretary for International Trade Sanchez from June 4-7, 2012. The mission included individualized business appointments and meetings with Russian national and regional government officials for United States companies specializing in implementing energy efficiency solutions.
Promoting Clean Energy in Russia’s Far East
In April 2012, USAID and the Russian Energy Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote clean energy development in Russia’s Far East. This collabortion aims to identify, evaluate, and implement a demonstration project for environmentally sensitive and efficient use of heat and electricity. The collaboration aims to enable investments related to energy production, delivery, and consumption using advanced clean energy technologies and services. The United States and Russia are also jointly conducting scientific research on black carbon to identify, inventory, and find solutions to harmful black carbon emissions.