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Welcome to the web-site "Increasing the competitiveness of SMEs through energy efficiency" (Project ...

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About the project

Brief description of the proposed action

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are regarded as the important locomotives of the local and national economy. Both in the Republic of Karelia (Finland) and Russia the SMEs, proving a significant amount of jobs, make a considerable contribution to the local domestic product.

Although each of these smaller firms consumes relatively small amounts of energy – with a correspondingly minor impact on the environment – collectively, their effect is massive. Moreover, with rising energy prices and uncertainty over the security of future supplies, boosting energy efficiency makes business, as well as environmental, sense.

Although most environmental policies focus on big industry, SMEs can also boost their energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy technologies, which are often local and small-scale by nature. However, SMEs often lack the resources, information and expertise to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by sustainable energy.

The issues concerning new and renewable energy sources as well as energy efficiency are of great importance to SMEs. They make significant energy costs savings possible and open new market opportunities in the field of renewable energy. In addition, a more responsible and efficient use of energy will not only enable SMEs to save money but will also have an impact on the image of a company as an energy- and environmentally- responsible organisation.

Finland is one of the leading countries in the world in application of energy-efficient technologies. In 2010 the total energy consumption per unit GDP in Finland has been as two times as lower as if compared to Russia. The utilisation of energy audits and analysis has been prioritised in Finland. More than two-thirds of industrial energy use has been audited. As a results of the action detected and implemented in the energy audits, heat consumption in industrial SMEs has diminished by more that 10% and electricity consumption by almost 5% (Source: Motiva Oy, http://www.motiva.fi/files/653/es-finland_eng.pdf).

Energy saving and energy-efficiency are one of the major directions of the long-term efforts of the government of the Republic of Karelia. In accordance with the Strategy of socio-economic development of the Republic towards 2020 the development of energy complex is planned in close connection with the measures developing the energy-efficiency standards and related issues.

Furthermore, the different aspects of energy-efficiency are prioritized in the Republic of Karelia’s Programme on energy saving towards 2012. To achieve the goals set by the Programme, training of relevant specialists on new energy-saving technologies and also the efforts to increase the awareness of entrepreneurs are required.

The project approach is backed up by the results of the surveys conducted by the experts of KRIMEL (Lead Partner)among the representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises functioning on the Republic of Karelia. The results of the surveys carried out in 2010 revealed the following. The majority of entrepreneurs consider their energy costs to be unreasonably high. Also, the SME representatives demonstrated a lack of awareness and knowledge on possible activities and ways of energy-saving. With regard to energy audits, it was witnessed that the majority of SME representatives have no idea on the essence of this questions that could be interpreted that the business people underestimated the opportunities of the energy audit.

Therefore, there is a clear need to improve the literacy and competence of SME in the field of energy-saving, on the technologies of energy-efficiency that will, in turn, promote the business development and competitiveness of the local enterprises in the global markets.

The present project is undertaken to develop and pilot the training programme on energy-efficiency as well as to organize a few actions demonstrating the energy-saving methods to representatives of SMEs and other relevant organizations. The project activities pursuing those objectives are expected to promote the capacity building of the SMEs, and also to transfer the best EU practices in the energy-efficiency.

Description of the target group(s) and final beneficiaries

Target groups:
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) functioning in the cross-border areas;
- SMEs selling the equipment and solutions reducing the energy consumption;
- Associations of SMEs, Organisations supporting SMEs (Chambers of Commerce, Centers of Economic Development, Business incubators, Technological parks, etc) working in the Republic of Karelia (Russia), Oulu region, Kainu region and North Karelia (Finland);
- Local educational institutions training in the field of energy management and energy-efficiency;
- Local and regional authorities responsible for support to SMEs;
- Local and regional authorities responsible for energy audit and control;
- Public and private organizations offering the services in the sphere of energy-efficiency;
- Media working with SME.

Final beneficiaries:
- Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Finland and Russia;
- General population of the Republic of Karelia and Oulu region.

Objectives

Overall objective

Introduction and promotion of energy-efficient solutions increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the cross-border areas.

Specific objective

- Capacity building in energy saving technologies and applicable energy-efficient solutions promoting the competitiveness of the local SMEs;
- Promote high performance and innovation in methods and techniques of energy-saving practiced by SMEs in construction and building industries in the Republic of Karelia and Northern Ostrobothnia;
- Transfer and disseminate the best expertise relating to energy-efficiency, energy measurement and control in order to train SMEs, the relevant professionals and students.

Main activities

Workpackage 1. Comparative analysis on competitiveness of SME working in the cross-border areas in Finland and Russia
Assessment of competitiveness and economic impact of SMEs in the Republic of Karelia and the Northern Ostrobothnia. Analysis of the present day situation with the SMEs’ energy consumption. Analysis of the legislation and standards regulating the energy-efficiency in Finland and Russia. Development scenario for SME using the energy-saving technologies in the territories targeted by the present project.

Workpackage 2. Energy efficiency checks
2.1. Selecting of pilot SMEs in the industrial, constructing and other sectors

A number of SMEs from the pilot territories would be selected to participate in this work package. The project experts will approach SMEs - either general management or persons responsible for energy - and do energy efficiency checks in the pilot regions. It is planned that 10 SMEs representing various sectors of economy, incl. 3 industrial SMEs, 3 SMEs from the construction business, 2 small transport companies, and 2 ones from the sector of agriculture (farmers), will be chosen for energy audit checks.

2.2. Selecting a subcontractor for audit checks
Energy audit stands for comprehensive evaluation of activities of an enterprise related to costs for different types of energy, fuel, water and some energy sources, which is aimed at identifying possibilities of cost-efficient optimization of energy resource consumption.

In accordance with Federal Law 261 FZ of November 23, 2009 “Energy Saving and Increasing Energy Efficiency and Introducing Changes in Certain Legal Acts of the Russian Federation” energy studies are conducted by the companies authorized for energy studies. The authorization is awarded only to the companies being members of SRO (self-regulated organization) of energy auditors. In turn, SRO should be approved by the Ministry of Energy of the RF and be in the register.

The Terms of Reference for the competitive procedure of selecting a service provider (company qualified to perform the energy audit checks) will be developed by the partners. The announcements will be made in the local media to ensure a fair access to the service contracts. Eventually it is planned to run a competitive negotiated procedure for selection of service provider.

2.3. Running the energy audit checks
Goals of energy audit:
• Detection of sources of irrational energy costs and unjustified energy losses;
• Identification of energy efficiency indicators;
• Identification of potential for energy saving and enhancing energy efficiency;
• Development of a targeted and comprehensive energy saving program;

It is envisaged that the energy survey (energy audit) on the pilot SMEs will cover the following activities:
• Analysis of the condition of the systems for energy, heating and water supply, and of the technical equipment of an industrial enterprise (site);
• Evaluation of the current state of metering systems and means, i.e. energy meters and their compliance with the established requirements;
• Detection of unjustified losses;
• Evaluation of the condition of rating of energy consumption and use of energy carriers;
• Checking energy balance of an enterprise (site);
• Calculation of specific norms for energy costs for production units or types of work;
• Evaluation of feasibility of major energy saving activities implemented by an enterprise.

The result of energy audit can be as follows:
• Conclusion on the quality of energy resources, especially electricity;
• Recommendations on introducing energy saving measures and activities;
• Recommendations on activities (including changes in the process), aimed at increasing energy efficiency of production;
• Recommendation on changing the energy resources used for other resources (for instance, electricity for heating with heat or steam).

Upon the results of the study, so-called Energy Passport is issued in accordance with the template approved by the Order of the Ministry of Energy No. 182 on April 19, 2010. The report determining energy saving potentials in the pilot SMEs and suggesting necessary steps will be prerared.


Workpackage 3. Demonstration station
A small-scale demonstration station equipped with the relevant energy-saving devices and also energy meters could be a fantastic tool to educate the entrepreneurs on the value of energy conservation and provide SMEs with all the knowledge they need to positively modify the energy consumption – resulting in big savings on the power bills, increase of competitiveness, and a positive contribution to the environment.

Workpackage 4. Training and consultancy for SMEs
The qualified experts and suitable instruments are the precondition for successfully helping SMEs to overcome barriers to turn their business and production into an energy efficient way. In case that SME representatives are not able to travel to courses, company specific consultancy sessions (face-to-face or remote) will be organized. Same materials will work in both cases.

For the preparation of the training courses and company specific consultancy sessions, a set of training materials, incl. a distance learning course, will be developed by the Finnish and Russian experts. CENTRIAs part will be made in Finnish and English. The contents cover issues concerning energy saving potentials in the production, storage and logistics as well as potentials for technical equipment.

The modules cover following topics: General requirements & Policy, Identification and review of energy aspects, Legal obligations, Resources, Roles and responsibilities, Awareness raising & Communication,
Energy Management system documentation, Operational control, Technical equipment for energy control and energy management, Energy monitoring, Control of records, Internal audit & Reviewand as most essential part example cases an calculations of SME companies.

Workpackage 5. Open competition for SMEs using the ‘energy-efficient solutions”
A competition to call for ideas in energy-efficient entrepreneurship will be launched offering investment in a small scale project in the target area using local resources. The competition is launched in 2013 by placing advertisements in local newspapers, also on TV and web-resources of target territories inviting private persons and municipal units to submit proposals. It is expected that this competition will further engage the interest of the general public.

Workpackage 6. Information campaigns and best practices for SMEs
The lack of awareness and information is still a major obstacle for innovation in regional business. The project is also focused to launch targeted informational and promotional campaigns at decision makers in SMEs, regional authorities, associations of SMEs and consultants or other relevant stakeholders.

The campaigns will inform about the training opportunities, audit checks, but will also inform generally about the possibilities and potentials of becoming energy efficient.

The best Finnish and EU practices in the field of energy management and energy-saving solutions for SMEs will be collected, reviewed at the seminars, published in a brochure and distributed to all the relevant stakeholders.

Main outputs

The following outputs can be listed

(1.) - 1 report containing the findings revealed by the comparative analysis on SME competitiveness of SME working in the cross-border areas in Finland and Russia, and also the scenario with the valuable recommendations for SME development presented.
(2) - At least, 10 pilot industrial SMEs are audited for energy-efficiency. The inspection reports determining energy saving potentials and suggesting necessary steps for reduction of energy consumption presented.
(3) - Small-scale investments made in demonstration facilities and equipment, such as various energy meters, energy-saving equipment, devices for energy audits. The demonstration equipment is used for training of SME at the demonstration station.
(4) - The skills and competences of, at least, 100 representatives of SMEs, local authorities, relevant associations working in the Republic of Karelia and Oulu are improved via the short-term training programme organised in the districts of Karelia and Oulu regions;
(5) - Study-trip to Finland for the relevant officials, decision-makers, organizations supporting the SME is organized to learn from the best experts.
(6) - At least, 1 distance learning course enriched with the case-studies in order to meet the energy-related educational needs of the SMEs developed.
(7) - Open competition for SMEs using the energy-efficient solutions organized. The investment in a small-scale project proposed by the winner is made.
(8) - The information campaigns targeting the relevant decision makers, SMEs, regional authorities, associations of SMEs are organized and launched via the user-friendly web-portal, discussion groups in the most popular web-based social networks.
(9) - At least, 2 public seminars are organized to raise the awareness of SMEs and the general public on energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies.
(10) - The guidelines highlighting the best practices and best energy efficiency solutions for SMEs are published and distributed among the relevant stakeholders (1000 copies).

 


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