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Ivan Vekirchyk

Responsibility for the real changes
The climate and energy crisis – done!

In the modern world, humanity faces several challenges. First, we started to feel climate change, which, to a large extent, depends on the use of fossil fuels for power generation (coal and gas power plants) and transformation into mechanic energy (vehicles). Second, humanity has finally understood that reserves of fossil fuels are not unlimited and will end in the foreseeable future. Third, power plants built during the industrialization period are exceeding their lifecycle against the constant growth in energy consumption.

Who will become an agent of change?

A question arises: how can these problems be solved, and who should do that? Fortunately, the development of technologies made it possible to generate power from renewable sources. But who is capable of implementing those technologies in real life? Given the global pressure of monopolies on the extraction and processing of natural resources, energy sector, and car industry, only an innovative business is capable of doing that. The business that is not 'tied' to gas pipes, which can afford thinking outside the imposed limits, able to work 24/7 and prove the efficiency of its performance. KNESS is precisely this type of company. We gathered a team of like-minded professionals who sincerely care about the next steps in the development of Ukraine and our planet as a whole. This is what allowed the company to build a sustainable business.

The response to challenges

We realize that humanity will feel the impact of our activity, not in a year or two, but in decades. But every employee of the company, as well as its founders, lives here and now. What can the company give us all apart from the fair wage? It is not a simple question, and an answer to it lies in the sphere of culture: the culture of life, culture of communication, culture of consumption, and culture of the attitude towards the world around us. It is a question of choosing what world we want to live in, and what path to take follow our future. Understanding that people are our greatest asset, we have made all efforts to change the paradigm of the employees' attitude to the company: from seeing it as a formal employer to perceiving it as a big family that cares about employees (high-quality office spaces, training and education, internal harmonious communication culture, health insurance) and their family (family events, tours, gifts events for children). It is not a simple task, but we already see the progress in this direction. And when individuals turn into a team – even under today's challenging conditions of uncertainty – they will most certainly resist and overcome any obstacles!

The development as a law

Of course, the world is changing dramatically. It is a fact that cannot be simply rejected – we must live in this world and work towards the development. As only we stop in the innovative development, the company will simply disappear from the map of stable businesses, if not disappear at all. To keep up the pace, we must constantly learn, visit exhibitions and workshops, adopt best practices. These are significant investments, but the investments in the intellectual resource drive the move forward in the foreseeable future and allow maintaining economic performance over time.I will draw particular attention to our RnD center. During the years of independence, Ukraine, unfortunately, has not cared much about its scientists, and we inherited virtually zero capabilities for scientific breakthroughs and even for adopting the existing technologies. In developed countries, RnD is among the most significant budget lines for both businesses and the country. We attempted to create conditions for such work. Let me stress: this is very expensive. To find professionals, create conditions for their work, provide them with necessary materials, introduce training and exchange of experience. Please also add that not all hypotheses appear to be correct, and not all research produces expected results. But we are sure – and we already have proof to that – that those hypotheses that have proven to be successful are paying off, give impetus to our progress and allow us to be leaders in many sectors!

Why oil and gas giants are actively developing RES

Technology companies have been successful in proving the world that there are no alternatives to RES, and environmentalists helped in bringing the climate change issue to most of the population. Together, we have not left them any choice. They will either succeed in entering the hi-tech RES business or will be left behind.

Issues faced by the business

The most challenging issue is the issue of the future. Who are the future Ukrainians? How do they live? In what country do they live? In what cultural environment? What should be done today to achieve results? There are no simple answers for these questions.. And this is an extremely high responsibility – to shape that future and create it. Unfortunately, most of the conscious business focuses on overcoming problems of the past. It is very bad that a significant number of state leaders think that way. People delegated powers to the leaders to create the future; however, as a result, the state periodically rolls back. But the race will be gone through, and we also make our substantial contribution to the change in thinking.

Social responsibility

Clean energy is a pivot of our business, and we understand this notion broader than power from renewable sources. Clean energy that underpins any human activity – this is an image of the future we build. KNESS Group implements corporate social responsibility projects both in the areas of education, science, sport, and media and in the development of infrastructure.

Thinking ahead

We think 10-20 years ahead and respond to all the mentioned problems and issues. It is youth that can change the world. It is today's schoolchildren that will run the state and the business when we retire. What will that world be like? I think, in not so distant future, the work with school and university students, expanding their capabilities and developing their knowledge will produce the highest impact on the lives of people, cities, regions, the country, and the world. Therefore, working with youth is the most efficient investment of time and money of all possible.

Why it is important to tell about the RES world

We want real changes, and for that we need, in particular, to win an information war with the market monopolists. How can a person make an independent decision about their future? Only by receiving full information about the state of affairs. And what would the monopolist transmit? "20-50 years is too far away," "technology doesn't work," "RES is something impossible, something from the distant future," and so on. Breaking this blockade is a crucial step towards the real human freedom of choice. The business is, as usual, on the frontline: it sees the threat, has resources, and should always analyze the future, but the population's opinion, its approval, its choice of the future is equally important! And we succeed in persuading people! A huge number of households install solar panels and collectors. And the rates of installation are continually growing: people have already appreciated the opportunities of being energy independent and are actively taking advantage of it. Let us add a sense that you do real things to improve the future, and we will have an unstoppable effect! In times of global informatization, it is extremely important to deliver true information to everyone. It is extremely difficult – but possible!

Energy cooperatives for Ukrainians

In all developed countries, co- investing allows people to get a profit that is higher than the interest rate, for small and medium enterprises to finance large projects. I think the time has already come to open this mechanism to every Ukrainian. Energy cooperatives will become the first step on this path. First, people will have physical property as their assets; second, their income is guaranteed by the country (that is, the guarantee is as high as in the bank); third, the profit is higher than the bank interest rate. And it comes with a big bonus of feeling engaged in the state's transition to renewable energy sources – a personal contribution to saving the planet's climate. It is the format when a person feels like an Owner rather than a hired worker. Demand for such a mechanism is rising fast in the Ukrainian population, especially in the responsible young generation, on the one hand, and as extra income to the pension, on the other.

Research as a window of opportunity

The global business, civil society organizations, and leaders of the states have already understood that transition to renewables is inevitable. Almost every day, we hear the news about countries and cities joining the initiative of transit to RES by 2050. It is a powerful but a relatively young industry where you can find a non-standard solution on every step. It is a vast ocean of opportunities, and to step into it, you need advanced, sometimes revolutionary technologies. But to get a new technology is just the first part of the job. The second and most difficult one is to make it cost-effective. It is to implement such stages that we need the development of science and experimental research. It is a very cost-intensive process, but the results obtained will cover all the expenses. That is why our company revives the scientific potential of the state, provides development opportunities to scientists and researchers. We are sure: Ukrainians can compete on equal terms with the scientists from Japan, Germany, and other countries.

Support of sport

Sport is health. Sport is skills of fighting and overcoming yourself, first of all. Sport is confidence in yourself. Sport is the team, unity, strategy… I want Ukrainians to have the strength to implement changes in the country, to protect its positions, to move forward actively. We should become healthy, confident nation. The more people can spend their money on studying, travel, investment rather than medical treatment, the sooner we get the developed state, where you want to live and be confident in the future of your descendants. That is why the sport is an essential brick in the fundament of human development. The culture of the healthy body should be instilled, first of all, in the young generation – as our future is with it!

RES-2020

In 2019, Ukraine made a great step forward by surpassing many countries of the world by its dynamics. Unfortunately, authorities were not ready for such a takeoff. Monopolists have also noted these changes and are trying to stop the RES movement. Due to these factors, in 2020, we received extremely negative messages from the country, which virtually brought the RES market to a stall. I mean threats to reduce the tariff retroactively, discrepancy between the current legislation and the realities, inactivity of monopolist owners of grids regarding their development. As of today, we see that investments in the sector completely stopped, thousands of jobs cut, and considerable incomes to Ukraine's budget suspended. Our company is in constant dialogue with international investors and business associations.

Climate change

Ukrainians never saw winter-2020, so they had a chance to see for themselves that climate has changed. Some people felt it; some decided: well, the winter was warm, so I need to spend less money on clothes and heating. But the winter also provided a weighty argument to those fighting to stop climate change. This is where a strong information campaign is required: we need to convey to people why it happens and – most importantly – what the consequences are. And the consequences may be catastrophic and affect many Ukrainians. For instance, due to the lack of snow in the fields, farmlands and winter crops will suffer. Perhaps, even that will not call for much attention. But the fact that because of the lack of snow we have a catastrophic situation with water – everyone will feel that ! Here, people will start asking: why that happened and how we can prevent that in the future. All that strengthens the positions of people who care and allows actively conveying information about modern problems.

Everyone's business

What a big group of companies can do is clear. And we do that. But what can each Ukrainian do? First, use renewables in both private households and apartment buildings. Fortunately, it is not a problem today to find a contractor for designing and installing a rooftop power plant and securing a bank loan for more efficient use of funds. As a bonus, you get partial independence from old power grids. Second, participate in energy cooperatives, thus developing RES and gaining decent income. Third, understand that RES is the best path into the future, think that it is renewables that will let us leave our children with a planet where they can live, not just survive. Everyone can become a RES proponent. The more people understand this problem and support the energy transition – the sooner we achieve a bright, safe, independent, and confident future!