Russia wants to save energy, mainly for economic reasons. The Nordic countries and the EU want to do it for environmental reasons. Fortunately, Nordic-Russian collaboration on energy-efficient solutions is making progress despite the difference in motives.
"Sustainable and efficient energy extraction will lead to both environmental and economic savings," says Valentina Pivnenko (left) of the State Duma. Also in the photograph are Torkil Sorensen and Per-Kristian Foss MP (Nor).
"It is in our common interest to conserve energy and to produce it in an environmentally safe and sound manner," says Valentina Pivnenko, first deputy chair of the State Duma Committee for Regional Policy and chair of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference (BSPC).
A group of Nordic and Russian politicians gathered for roundtable talks on energy efficiency and sustainable energy production in Helsinki, 14-15 May. The interests of the far North were a unifying factor in their discussions.
"Much of Russia's energy resources are in Arctic areas and the Nordic countries possess a great deal of knowledge that would be useful to any partnership," says the President of the Nordic Council, Kimmo Sasi.
"It is important that Russia and Europe protect the vulnerable environment in northern areas by extracting energy in a sustainable manner. Energy efficiency also means cheaper energy, and lower electricity costs are important to ordinary people, as well as being beneficial to business and industry," Pivnenko points out.
The Russian politician also thinks that co-operation, both between parliamentarians and in the energy sector, has come a long way, noting that the Nordic countries and Russia are currently working together on 18 energy projects. Among the most ambitious are the projects on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia, in which a large number of international companies are involved.
In a joint statement the delegates to the talks expressed their willingness to develop the dialogue on green energy production and environmental controls. They also agreed on the need to continue the current projects under the Northern Dimension Partnership for the Environment, Transport and Logistics.
Valentina Pivnenko also sees potential for Nordic-Russian partnerships in the development of traffic eastward through the North-east Passage.
"A lot of countries would benefit from shipping in the North and are interested in developing the infrastructure. There will be a need for new ships, research, new port terminals... all of which will boost economic development," she explains.