Hundreds of biofuel producers and users participated at the First National BIOENERGY Forum
The first National Forum brought together the Moldovan producers of briquettes and pellets, the users of biomass energy and the bio-energy development policymakers in Chisinau with the support provided by the EU Delegation.
“The Republic of Moldova is 95% dependent on energy imports. Therefore one of key priorities of the national authorities is to reduce this dependence and increase the country's energy security. Out of the available renewable energy sources bioenergy is the most sustainable option for the Republic of Moldova, and it has displayed an unbelievable start”, Tudor Copaci, Deputy Minister of Economy, present at the Forum, stated.
Thanks to the European investments through Moldova Energy and Biomass Project, the demand for biomass fuel soared in less than four years, leading to the launch of more than 100 briquette and pellet-production businesses. The existing equipment has the overall production capacity of approximately 120 thousand tonnes per annum, which is equivalent to circa 53,700 m3 of natural gas or 80,000 tonnes of coal.
”Although the biomass energy market has evolved and developed significantly over the past years, there are many constraints requiring to be tackled by a broader group involving all stakeholders. The constraints refer to the reduced cost of coal imported from Ukraine, the lack of state control on priority purchase/use of biofuels by the institutions – beneficiaries of technical assistance projects, including Moldova Energy and Biomass Project and Social Investment Fund of Moldova, 20% VAT on produced biofuel relative to 8% VAT on raw materials purchased from the agricultural sector”, Nicolae Zaharia, Business Development Expert of Moldova Energy and Biomass Project, has mentioned.
Ala Gadrautan launched the production of briquettes in 2012 in Rascani District, and her firm employed women only. ”I have launched the production of briquettes together with my spouse who is an agricultural entrepreneur. Large quantities of wheat, rape and barley straws remained after the harvest, and these straws are now transformed into biofuel. The production line is operated no-stop. This is a pretty good start for us and for the country as well. We really want to produce more and, thus, create new jobs, develop the business and cut the population dependence on natural gas or coal imports”, Ala Gadrautan has asserted.
The Government has approved technical regulations for the production of solid biofuel to become binding as of 2015, and solutions for setting biofuel quality testing labs will be identified. Also, the Authorities will approve a Government Decision on measures aimed to prepare the country economy and social sector for operation in the course of autumn-winter of 2014-2015”, which covers, for the first time, a clause, according to which those public entities that have biomass heating systems installed should purchase biofuel for the heating season.
Nowadays, there are more than 170 schools, kindergartens, community centres in the Republic of Moldova that have been connected to biomass heating systems, and most of the latter were installed thanks to the means provided by the EU-UNDP funded Moldova Energy and Biomass Project.
In 2012, a pellet-fuelled heating plant was installed at the kindergarten from Calfa Village, Anenii Noi District; the plant being an alternative to the natural gas based heating system. ”I have to confess I was rather sceptical when it was about to switch from the natural gas based heating system to the one based on biomass. Now I am a promoter of heating based on locally produced biofuel. I am seeking for funds to have other public entities connected to bio-energy as well. Hence, we are not dependent any more on geopolitical decisions taken by the countries – suppliers of natural gas or coals. Moreover, we have savings, we create new jobs, and the money we pay for fuel remains in the Republic of Moldova”, Ludmila Ceaglic, Mayor of Calfa Village, Anenii Noi District, has mentioned.
The First National Bioenergy Forum of the Republic of Moldova has been organised by the Energy Efficiency Agency and by the EU-UNDP funded Moldova Energy and Biomass Project. The Forum will be conducted on a yearly basis, and aims at setting a sustainable platform for discussions, identifying solutions for the sector-related issues, ensuring high quality of locally produced biofuels and promoting the use of bio-energy by the national economy sectors.
All conclusions and recommendations made by the Forum participants will be submitted to the National Authorities representatives responsible for the development of the bioenergy sector.
Ina Prisacaru-Zglavuta, Communication and Media Officer, Moldova Energy and Biomass Project, UNDP Moldova, Phone: 373 22 839983, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicolae Zaharia, Business Development Officer, Moldova Energy and Biomass Project, UNDP Modlova, Phone: 373 22 839982, email@example.com