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Biomass as Alternative Energy Source for Belarus

Yesterday the town of Radoshkovichi (Minsk region) hosted the final seminar on the project “Biomass Energy for Heating and Hot Water Supply in Belarus”, which has been implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for almost five years.

This is the first full-scale project in Belarus called “Biomass Energy” in short which was funded by GEF whose investment totaled US$ 3.37 mln. The main objective of the project was to secure a global impact of reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through replacement of fossil fuels by renewable wood biomass. According to the estimates, burning wood fuel at power utilities created under the project should result in reduction of GHG emissions by approximately 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 15-year period.

“The world scientific community agrees that burning fossil fuels is the primary cause of the current global climate change”, said Dzmitry Halubouski, UNDP Programme Officer. “Absence of immediate steps on the part of the governments to radically transform their energy policies to significantly reduce GHG emissions can have irreversible dramatic consequences for the whole humankind. The price of inaction could be prohibitive and the cost of coping with climate change consequences and adaptation to new conditions could by far exceed the volume of investments necessary for transition to a less carbon-intensive economy. Therefore pilot projects like “Biomass Energy” are capable of playing a key role in removing the barriers to large-scale diffusion of climate-neutral technologies”.

The following five demonstration sites have been developed under the project: one heat-only boiler house, three mini-range combined-heat-and-power plants which run on wood-waste, and one enterprise engaged in logging, processing and delivery of wood chips. In addition, a revolving fund for biomass energy has been established with initial capitalization over US$ 3 million. The fund’s resources are allocated for financing of biomass energy and energy efficiency projects.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) has been developed as a new tool for planning biomass energy development in Belarus. GIS includes databases on Belarus’ boiler houses, their heat capacity, wood resources, logging plans for up to 10 years, wood-processing enterprises, and transport network. GIS is an advanced tool for bio-energy planning both at national and local level.

The project proved a timely initiative, as the Government of Belarus adopted in 2004 a program on producing up to 25% of energy using local fuels by 2012. Wood fuel is supposed to be one of the key sources of planned increase. Intensive training courses for specialists and senior officials of communal services, district and regional executive committees, which were conducted under the project, provided good opportunities for sharing advanced international experience (four study tours were arranged abroad – in Austria, Czech Republic, Finland and Sweden).

The partnership of UNDP, GEF and the Energy Efficiency Department in implementing the project has brought significant benefits to the country. In view of that, UNDP is going to continue providing necessary assistance to the Government of Belarus in improving energy efficiency and energy savings.

For reference: The “Biomass Energy” project was developed at the initiative and with the active participation of the Committee on Energy Efficiency (currently the Department on Energy Efficiency of the State Committee on Standardization), UNDP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. The Department on Energy Efficiency was the project implementing agency and co-funded it on Belarus’ part.

More information on the project (in English) can be found at

For additional information please contact Project Manager, Vladimir Voitekhiovich, at +375 (17) 306-24-11, or UNDP Communications Associate, Vladislav Khilkevich, at +375 (17) 227-38-17, e-mail:

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