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Experts of Energy Programs: Ahead of the Game

Interview with Volodymyr Omelchenko, Energy Program Director at the Razumkov Center
Today, Ukraine’s energy sector has difficult times. In your opinion, what role may and should influential think-tanks play in the process of reforming the energy sector? 
I think that to be interesting for civil society and their clients, non-governmental organizations or think-tanks should, first of all, be beyond the political arena, i.e., not to take sides with anybody. Otherwise, it is impossible to ensure the integrity of research in different spheres of the country’s life, which means, in a while, a loss of trust and a reduced demand to services of such a think tank. Another prerequisite for the success of such organizations is the professionalism of its expert corps. The third characteristics is an ability to feel the societal ‘pulse,’ to react timely to new complex challenges of the modern world, and impact the formation of the socio-political life of the country.
Please tell us about the activity of the Razumkov Center in the area of energy research.
The energy programs of the Razumkov Center always try to research the societally essential problems and find answers to current challenges, first of all, based on the interests of the energy services consumers and ensuring the energy security of the state. At the same time, the energy program experts try to be ahead of the game. In particular, the Energy Programs, for the first time in Ukraine, conducted studies regarding the suitability of pegging the natural gas price to the reference basket of oil products, about the perspectives of the development of the world market of the liquefied natural gas in the context of Ukraine’s interests, about complex threats to the energy security on the part of Russia, about building upon the experience of the national energy regulators in the Vyshegrad states.
Another significant achievement is the preparation, under the expert guidance of the Energy Programs, of the current Energy Strategy of Ukraine until 2035 (approved by the Decree of the Government in 2017). It factors in the major global trend of the “energy transition” from fossil fuels to RES. However, unfortunately, the turbulent political situation in Ukraine and a low level of competence in central government bodies prevented, as of now, the introduction of the necessary measures to implement the Strategy.
Many energy issues are currently related to the environmental ones because the RES discourse in many respects appeals to climate change. Is there any interaction between the Center’s energy experts and environmental experts? In what way?
The Razumkov Center maintains a focus on the so-called European Green Deal strategy and plans to participate in the development of the National Integral Plan on the Energy Sector and Climate Change till 2030. The Plan will address problems of decarbonization, energy efficiency, energy safety, electrical mobilization, the forecast for greenhouse gas reduction, and so on. In its work, the Razumkov Center always tries to interact with established specialist EU international organizations on the project basis and through mutually beneficial experience exchange, and utilize best international and Ukrainian practice in RES and prevention of climate change.