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Frontpage News 2006 Estonian-Norwegian seminar on energy efficiency

Estonian-Norwegian seminar on energy efficiency

On 13 June the Norwegian embassy in Tallinn and the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications organised a joint seminar on energy efficiency in buildings, a topic which corresponds to one of Estonia's focus areas of the EEA Grants. A call for proposals for € 23 million under the EEA Grants was announced on 1 June. The seminar gathered around 40 participants, mostly from Estonia.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Stein Vegard Hagen invited Estonian entities to seek cooperation with Norwegian partners who have for many years gathered relevant experience through their own activity in this field. Mr Andres Tint, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, welcomed the opportunity to seek EEA Grants funding and explore opportunities for cooperation in this sphere. He referred to the challenges facing Estonia in this field and plans elaborated for measures to be implemented in the coming years.

Mr Johan Vetlesen, Deputy Director General, Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, gave an overview of Norwegian energy policy, including energy efficiency, in the light of EU/EEA developments. He noted that the present policy climate in Europe is very favourable to energy efficiency measures, and that Estonia and Norway are facing many similar challenges.

Ms Marit Otsing, chairperson of the Estonian Union of Cooperative Housing Associations (EKÜL), gave an overview of the current state of Estonia's housing stock. She gave examples of measures already undertaken to promote energy efficiency and stressed the great potential and need for additional measures and appropriate financing arrangements. Director Terje Halvorsen presented relevant experiences from EKÜL's Norwegian counterpart, the Norwegian Federation of Cooperative Housing Associations (NBBL), which has also previously cooperated with EKÜL. Drawing on his own experiences from efforts to enhance energy efficiency in Estonian buildings, Mr Teet Tark from Hevac OÜ gave examples of typical problems and practical solutions.

Mr Trond Dahlsveen, president of Energy Saving International (ENSI), briefly outlined the functions that Energy Service Companies (ESCO) can perform. He also explained that the more traditional model is predominant in Norway, whereas the ESCO concept is currently uncommon. Further, he presented the services that e.g. ENSI can offer in facilitating efforts to promote energy efficiency in other countries, combining training and project development.

Mr Erik Marksoo from the Ministry of Finance presented the EEA Grants, while Mr Heikki Parve from KredEx informed about other available financing schemes. Mr Priit Enok from the Intelligent Europe Executive Agency introduced the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, which will be the topic of a future information event.

The seminar included two workshops, one of which focused on the role of municipalities in promoting energy efficiency. Although is not a very topical issue in most municipalities, they showed an interest in working towards improving energy efficiency. Competence building for energy auditors was needed, and EEA Grants funding was identified as a possible source of funding. Another concern was the lack of competence relating to new legislative requirements. These needs were acknowledged by national authorities.

In the second workshop, the discussion centred on what contributions enterprises can make to promoting energy efficiency through international cooperation. Workshop participants pointed to the complementary roles to be played by national authorities, municipalities, enterprises, housing cooperatives and individual building owners. Participants concluded that enterprises had an essential role to play at various stages, from analysis to the elaboration and implementation of practical solutions. Ms Tiina Link from the Norwegian Embassy (Innovation Norway) presented services that relevant Norwegian enterprises could offer in this field and offered Innovation Norway's assistance in identifying relevant cooperation partners.