Belarus’ reliance on imported energy has prompted ambitious plans to diversify its energy supplies, improve energy efficiency and sustainability.
The Government plans to build a nuclear power plant and coal-fired power station in the near future to increase its security of supply.
In 2009 substantial investments were made to improve Belarus’ renewable capacity, with proposals including three hydroelectric plants, several biomass and combined heat and power plants, plus the construction of over 2,400 wind turbines. Of all renewables, biofuel is most attractive to Belarus because of the vast areas of forest and farmland across the republic.
Biofuel facilities are being constructed in the southern towns of Mozyr and Bobruisk to produce 650 million litres of bioethanol a year, and chemical company Azot is experimenting with the production of methyl ether from rape oil.
Biomass also offers ways to reclaim land contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster as the growing and harvesting process helps clean-up the land.
The government has committed to ensuring at least 25% of energy is produced by local fuels and renewable energy sources by 2012. Its ‘energy intensity’, the number of units of energy used per unit of GDP, will be reduced by a third by 2010.