Recently the prime minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov has made the statement claiming that in a couple years Ukraine will already be able to dispense with the Russian gas. This statement has generated a huge number of comments on the side of experts who were mainly skeptical as to the ability of Ukraine to dispense with gas supply from Russia so quickly. The majority of experts consider that alternative sources of gas supply, and also increase of its production in Ukraine won’t manage to start working that quickly to block the needs of consumers for blue fuel. And on the whole, I agree with such conclusions.
However, at the same time, it seems to me that the main work of the government now has to be concentrated not so much on the increase of gas production and emergence of alternative sources of its supply to Ukraine, as on the implementation of large-scale actions aimed at energy saving. Moreover, energy saving has to become one of the main issues of economic policy of the Ukrainian government for at least next 5-7 years.
It is well known that as for today Ukraine has got one of the highest energy resources consumption levels per GDP unit in the world. Thus, expenses on heating of residential buildings, for example, exceed the Central European level by three times. Due to social populism of politicians it’s impossible to carry out the reform in the housing and utilities sector in Ukraine for over twenty years already. As a result, we have its monopolization in place and no incentives for energy saving.
The situation with energy efficiency of public sector isn’t a lot better. Although what’s necessary there is only the will of representatives of the central and local government, directed at the implementation of actions on thermal modernisation of hospitals, schools, higher educational institutions, buildings of public institutions, and use of nonconventional types of energy resources of the local origin by them.
Therefore, if we discuss how realistic is the scenario of giving up on the Russian gas in the coming years, then actually the discussion should proceed not in the context of finding other sources of gas supply to Ukraine. It is, mainly, necessary to discuss actions of energy saving, terms of their realization, incentives for it. Since having carried them out, we will be able to significantly reduce gas consumption, making Ukraine’s economy much more effective by this and reducing opportunities for energy blackmailing of Ukraine which our country faces all years of independence.