Lighting the way for climate-resilient energy in Moldova

Mounted solar panels at Ocara Stefan Dumitru Farm, Moldova

31 March 2016. In Moldova, climate change represents a serious threat to the energy sector. With higher temperatures, fluctuating rainfall, and an increasing number and severity of extreme weather events, climate impacts are decreasing the efficiency of power stations and pipelines, and compromising energy production and delivery. For a country with high dependence on imported energy, Moldova has experienced significant increases in the prices for natural gas and electricity over the past few years. Coupled with currency volatility, consumers throughout Moldova are struggling to pay their energy bills. 

Energy shortages, and resulting high costs impinge on human development. From this perspective, the implementation of adaptation measures is not an optional enterprise, but a critical necessity. This is a view shared by Viorel Neaga, the Director of a Business Incubator in Sîngerei town, Northern Moldova.

Mr. Neaga, with the support of UNDP and the Austrian Development Agency via the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, has been able to implement the pilot project "Renewable energy for entrepreneurship".

Highlights:

  • 17 businesses and their 47 employees in the Sîngerei Business Incubator will benefit from the advantages offered by the pilot projects and will produce electricity for itself;
  • Growing annually at least 3 tons of gooseberries on an area of 70 acres;
  • Reducing annual electricity consumption by 35-40%;
  • Reducing annual CO2 emissions by over 6.5 tons; and
  • Promoting environmentally friendly technologies.

Mr. Neaga notes that "the implementation of modern technologies for electricity production is a way of adaptation based on the potential of renewable energy sources, ensuring consumer autonomy, supply stability and medium-term economic profit".

Through the project "Supporting Moldova’s National Climate Change Adaptation Planning Process", Mr. Neaga’s Business Incubator received a grant to purchase and mount 54 photovoltaic solar panels with a total power of approximately 13 kW, in order to increase energy independence and promote distributed energy production to the 17 businesses within the Sîngerei Business Incubator.

The peasant farm "Ocara Stefan Dumitru" also benefited from a grant to purchase and install 54 photovoltaic solar panels with a total power of approximately 10.5 kW. The electricity produced by photovoltaic solar panels will be used both for refrigeration system, where fruits and gooseberries will be preserved, and to pump water in the water tank located in the garden.

The recipients of these grants have increased their energy independence, and reduced their annual electricity consumption by 35-40%. By installing solar panels and switching to a renewable energy source, the project beneficiaries are increasing efficiency and reducing their vulnerability, particularly in rural areas of Moldova.

Mr. Ocara Stefan, owner of peasant farm, pointed out: "I don't expect big profit from this project, but I'm waiting for a moral satisfaction from the fact that I even contributed something to the environment, so that both children and my grandchildren will eat as pure ecological products".

Valerian Colun, national consultant for the energy sector, emphasizes: "To meet the climate challenges it is necessary to apply existing interdisciplinary knowledge and to develop institutional capacities for the energy sector. The exploitation of renewable energy sources is a priority for Moldova, thus contributing to the promotion of distributed energy and increasing energy independence of rural areas. This is one of the priority solutions to climate change adaptation."

Following the successful implementation of these pilot projects in the energy sector, local producers are motivated to make plans for the future, applying technologies that contribute to adaptation and at the same time, that increase energy security and improve the welfare of the rural population. These pilot projects are lighting the way for climate-resilient energy in Moldova, and showcasing how stable energy production and delivery can be achieved through a variety of measures.

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