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All-Russian Meeting on ‘National Projects: State Priorities and Opportunities for Growth’ at REW 2019

2 October 2019
В рамках РЭН-2019 состоялось всероссийское совещание «Национальные проекты: приоритеты государства и возможности развития»

Today, on 2 October 2019 the Russian Energy Week International Forum hosted the All-Russian Meeting on ‘National Projects: State Priorities and Opportunities for Growth’ dedicated to reaching national goals in construction, housing and utilities, urban environment and public utilities infrastructure upgrade.

This event gathered regional leaders, representatives of legislative bodies and government agencies from 72 regions of the Russian Federation, and industry experts. The meeting was organized by the Housing and Public Utilities Reform Support Fund.

Key topics of the meeting included the status of such national projects as ‘Housing and Urban Environment’ and ‘Ecology’, as well as effective information technologies used to implement national projects. Participants focused on urban space development and introduction of energy efficient technologies under national projects. Executive Director of the National Center for Public Control in the Field of Housing and Communal Services HCS Control Svetlana Razvorotneva moderated this open mike event.

Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation Vladimir Yakushev stated: «One of the key tasks of the ‘Housing and Urban Environment’ national project is to commission more housing under the housing construction reform. The mode of cooperation among federal, regional and municipal government agencies, developers and banking society — that is becoming one of the key players in this process — must be constant.»

Vladimir Yakushev highlighted the project on the urban environment:
«We are facing the task to significantly raise the comfort level of the urban environment. While under this programme yards should be improved both in cities and rural areas. People have voted for these areas and are expecting them to be upgraded.»

Sergei Stepashin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of National Center for Public Control in the Field of Housing and Communal Services HCS Control, emphasized that Russia’s housing and utilities segment has a great potential for higher energy efficiency: it accounts for one-fifth of the country’s total potential for lower energy consumption. «If we take total volume of resources produced in the country, the current relative share of resource consumption in apartment complexes will be 52% for heat and 30% for electricity. While Russia ranks 21st among energy efficient economies,» noted Sergei Stepashin.

He also mentioned a very low share of energy efficient housing being constructed for people relocated from dilapidated housing. «Starting from 2010, 154 energy efficient apartment complexes have been built in 37 Russian regions, with a total area of 266 thousand sq. metres, which makes for only 1.7% of total area of dilapidated housing involved in this programme. This is caused by a conflict between two focal points of government policy in government-sponsored capital construction: minimizing capital spending and improving energy efficiency through the use of cutting-edge technologies and materials, which leads to an evident construction cost increase of 7–12%,» stated Sergei Stepashin. «In order to resolve this, we need to factor in construction of 100 thousand sq. metres of energy efficient housing annually starting from 2020 for the relocation programme. I offer additional financing from the Public Utilities Fund of up to 5 thousand roubles/sq. metre as a motivation, which will require a target-specific share of up to 500 million roubles a year as part of the asset contribution. I propose to allocate those funds for constructing energy efficient housing that went through a lifecycle cost assessment.»

Oleg Melnichenko, Chairman of the Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs of the Federation Council, spoke about proposing the State Duma a bill on new mechanisms to relocate people from dilapidated housing.

In his speech, Ilya Osipov, Member of the Committee on Housing Policy and Housing and Utilities of the State Duma, mentioned the need for earlier financing of regional programmes than it is stipulated now but without raising expenditures. He noted positive experience of Moscow and other regions in housing retrofitting and relocating people from dilapidated housing under this programme. «If we talk energy efficiency, old housing is not energy efficient. That is why we need to speak more about capital repairs. Because a sustainable decrease in dilapidated housing can only be reached through not letting it become dilapidated. It is crucial for us to define the criterion of dilapidation,» said Ilya Osipov.

Minister of Construction of Kirov Region Ruslan Bondarchuk emphasized Public Utilities Fund money allocation throughout different stages of the programme. «The most funding is allocated for the 2023 and 2024 stages. While the Fund’s financing in 2019 is 491.1 million roubles (11.7% of total volume planned). Preliminary limits for 2020 and 2021 are 314.7 million roubles. A significant amount of housing is included in the programme in 2021–2023, and people should be relocated in the coming years. But the Fund’s approved limits, as well as limited regional budgets prevent us from increasing the funding for 2020 and 2021 stages,» stated Ruslan Bondarchuk.

Governor of Novosibirsk Region Andrey Travnikov shared their region’s experience in successfully cooperating with the Public Utilities Reform Support Fund. Novosibirsk Region used public-private partnership principles to implement to complex projects for upgrading public utilities systems. The cost of the upgrade was 680 million roubles. As a result, the regional government was able to cut the annual subsidies for municipalities in the amount of 80 million roubles. «We got the approval for the third project from the Fund management last week. It is a project to upgrade the public utilities systems in Cherepanovo, a town of 19 thousand people. The total cost of construction and assembly is 740 million roubles. The anticipated effect is to cut annual regional grants in the amount of 45–50 million roubles annually and to get rid of the debt for coal and gas. We are currently preparing the next project, which will be the fourth one. We hope that the public utilities upgrade programme will keep going with the support of the Utilities Fund,» explained Governor of Novosibirsk Region.

Konstantin Tsitsin, General Director of the Housing and Utilities Reform Fund announced that the State Corporation approved to projects to upgrade public utilities proposed by Novosibirsk Region. At the meeting, Mr. Tsitsin gave Andrey Travnikov a voucher for 135 million roubles.

The money allocated by the Utilities Fund will be used for two projects to upgrade heat and hot water supply in the western and eastern parts of Cherepanovo. The agreements provide for co-financed construction of 8 boiler houses and an upgrade of another one; construction and retrofitting of almost 30 km of heat and hot water supply network. Under these agreements, the Utilities Fund will allocate almost 445 million roubles, while the total cost of the projects is 741.4 million roubles. They will be implemented under concession agreements.