Renewable energy and energy efficiency: Problems and development strategy

This year, the twenty-fourth International Scientific and Practical Conference "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the XXI Century", which was held online at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute on May 18-19, was dedicated to the celebration of the Day of Science in Ukraine and the 125th anniversary of the National Technical University of Ukraine "Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute".

However, of course, all of its work was aimed primarily at finding ways and methods to solve the most pressing problems in the field of renewable energy. Especially since the war with enemy shelling and bombing of our country's energy facilities, with real threats to the security of domestic nuclear power plants posed by racists, with the insane rise in energy prices has clearly demonstrated that this industry is becoming one of the country's strategic ones. Although the research and development of renewable energy experts is not directly related to the defense sector, the implementation of the results of their activities will serve to strengthen the country's energy security and rapidly restore and modernize its economy now, and especially in the postwar period. So, despite the war, this year's conference gathered a large audience of scientists, practitioners, students, and even schoolchildren interested in energy issues: 180 researchers of all ages participated, 32 of them representing universities and research institutions in Germany, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, and Azerbaijan.

As always, the conference was aimed at discussing problems and prospects for the development of renewable energy sources, electricity and bioenergy resources, the earth's heat and the country's heat supply through the use of solar, wind and hydropower resources, as well as the implementation of energy saving and energy efficiency measures. Therefore, the conference covered a wide range of issues and areas of green energy development: participants discussed energy efficiency, integrated systems with renewable energy sources (RES), wind energy, solar energy, biomass energy technologies, hydropower, geothermal energy, hydrogen energy, environmental energy (heat pumps), smart grids in the energy sector, and, of course, various aspects of training specialists for the industry.

Traditionally, the conference was opened by Stepan Kudria, Head of the Renewable Energy Department of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Director of the Institute of Renewable Energy Sources of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. "Renewable energy, which we have been developing for more than 40 years, is already making a significant contribution to the country's energy sector, replacing traditional types of energy and generation. And if there were no obstacles from the traditional energy lobby, a significant part of the world's energy would already be green and renewable," he said in his opening remarks. However, these trends seem to have been reversed. Indeed, as he showed in his presentation at the plenary session immediately following the conference opening ceremony, global trends show that the lion's share of investments - 69% versus 31% in traditional energy sectors - is now directed to the development of renewable energy technologies for the further development of coal, gas and nuclear power plants.

"The current state of development of renewable energy and energy efficiency determines the sustainable energy future of the entire humanity. Moreover, it obliges our country to implement profound post-war innovative transformations in the energy sector," said KPI Rector, Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Mykhailo Zgurovsky, welcoming the participants. He also outlined the main directions in which these changes should be implemented, starting with ensuring a sharp increase in the generation of such energy with a simultaneous decrease in its cost (up to 25% of total electricity production in Ukraine in 2035) and wider implementation of energy efficiency technologies to the development of specific technological areas of renewable energy generation and effective integration of such energy into the traditional energy system, as well as the development of intelligent systems in the industry and the use of artificial intelligence in it.
In fact, the participants spoke about ways and tools to solve these problems in their reports and presentations. The aforementioned presentation by Stepan Kudri at the plenary session of the conference set a certain tone for the discussions. It was about the role of renewable energy in the "green" energy transition and contained a lot of specific information about our country's potential in this area. In particular, he spoke about a study that proved that Ukraine ranks first in the world in terms of offshore energy development and has a huge potential for introducing hydrogen energy technologies (note that the development of hydrogen energy was discussed in detail at a separate section of the conference). The next report, by Professor Petro Lezhniuk of the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, was equally specific, addressing the impact of renewable energy on the state and prospects of Ukraine's energy balance. Even the poster presentations of the youngest participants of the conference - schoolchildren from the Small Academy of Sciences (they worked in a special section, the work of which is described in more detail in the article by Vasyl Budko, Head of the Department of Renewable Energy Sources of the FEA of KPI, published in this issue) - contained many interesting ideas and solutions that can be implemented after certain modifications.

Of course, the conference was not limited to the founding and thorough overview reports at its plenary session. The participants worked in sections: "General Issues", "Hydrogen Energy", "Energy Efficiency", "Solar Energy", "Geothermal Energy and Bioenergy", "Hydropower and Wind Energy", and also reviewed the aforementioned poster presentations by schoolchildren. The conference also featured a number of non-reported presentations, which were no less important and mostly focused on very specific issues.

The attention that is currently being paid to the issues raised for discussion by the scientific community is evidenced by the composition of the organizers of the XXIV International Scientific and Practical Conference "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the XXI Century". These are not only the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the traditional partners of the conference - the Representation of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kyiv, the Public Union Energy Association "Ukrainian Hydrogen Council", the ISTC of Wind Energy of the IWE of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the UNESCO Chair "Higher Technical Education, Applied Systems Analysis and Informatics" at Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and the Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, but also the Warsaw University of Technology, the Institute of Technical Thermophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Institute of General Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Ukrainian National Committee for Moreover, it was supported by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the State Agency on Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine, EUROSOLAR-Ukraine (the Ukrainian branch of the European Renewable Energy Association EUROSOLAR), the Scientific and Technical Union of Power Engineers and Electrical Engineers of Ukraine, Andijan State University named after Z.M. Babur (Uzbekistan) and other respected institutions.

It should be recalled that the conference "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the 21st Century" has been a scientific and practical conference rather than a purely scientific one for many years. It remains so. Therefore, its resolution identified a number of very specific practical measures to be taken to implement a "green" energy transition and identified the most promising areas of research, including those presented by the conference participants. These include addressing the issues of rational location of energy capacities, taking into account the possibilities of dispersed generation, sustainable combined local energy systems with renewable sources of different nature; harmonization of the pace of renewable energy implementation and regulatory capabilities of the energy system, in particular the introduction of energy storage, forecasting and load management systems; development and implementation of innovative methods of hydrogen production and application of hydrogen technologies in energy and other industries; use of hydrogen technologies in the energy sector; and Nevertheless, it is better to read this document in full, rather than in fragments and in a summary, as it is posted on the website of the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Dmytro Stefanovych