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EU4Energy Mission to Belarus: Energy Investment Risk Assessment and Energy Efficiency

From May 29 to June 2 Belarus received a delegation from the Energy Charter Secretariat (ECS) to assess the investment climate in the country’s energy sector and support the country in developing its energy efficiency policy. As the aim was two-fold this took the form of a fact-finding mission in the run-up to ECS’s upcoming publication—the Energy Investment Risk Assessment (EIRA)—as well as a first meeting of the EU4Energy Task-force for Scaling up Energy Efficiency Investments in Belarus.

Over the course of the week, the ECS interviewed representatives from government, industry and other stakeholders in order to spot potential risks discouraging investment in the Belarusian energy sector. The findings will be elaborated in the EIRA pilot publication, which will evaluate investment risks and propose mitigating measures. For the 2017 report, a total of ten countries will be analysed and compared, Belarus being the third after Armenia and Mongolia. The final report’s results will be presented at the 28th Energy Charter Conference  in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. From there, the EIRA is expected to serve as a guide for countries seeking to enhance their own investment climates. 

The week culminated with the setting-up of a new Task-force whose goal will be to support Belarus in establishing a sound regulatory environment for scaling up energy efficiency investments. Task-force members include representatives from the Ministries of Energy and Economy, the Energy Efficiency Department of the State Committee for Standardisation, national energy companies (Belenergo, Beltopgaz) and international organisations (EBRD, IFC) among others. The discussion focused on the main drivers for demand and supply in energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, especially in the electricity sector, industrial enterprises and SMEs. By the end of 2017, the task-force will have met a total of four times to identify key legislative and regulatory barriers and will propose remedies at a high-level policy roundtable at the year’s end.  

These projects in Belarus are part of the EU4Energy Programme, an EU financed initiative that supports evidence-based energy policy making and energy efficiency in the region of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia. Within the EU4Energy Programme, the ECS provides technical assistance to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus to strengthen the legal framework and stimulate investment in the countries’ energy sector.