Journal № 1 (15) 2022

– Alexey, why did you decide to take part in the work of the FBA EAC?

– I've been in business for 30 years. I have developed projects in various industries and now work in the field of telecommunications, information technology, energy and energy efficiency. At some point, it became clear that "INKO" is not only about business. We develop projects that are useful for the society, creating an environment for social development: we protect nature, increase energy efficiency. The word "together" in our mission means that the strength lies in synergy, in communication, cooperation between people and companies from different fields of activity.

Now all technological breakthroughs occur at the junction of industries. And the more we unite decent and responsible people around us, the more diverse resources and opportunities there will be: ideas, knowledge, competencies, money, connections and joint projects. And this will give a synergetic effect. We unite not only to develop in business, but also to grow spiritually, morally, intellectually, professionally. It is necessary to create and change the world for the better. But at the same time, we must rely on such values as decency, honesty, kindness, love, mutual assistance, mutual respect and responsibility. Only in this way – together, creating and following these principles – will we be able to build a healthy society.

Of course, we would like as many people as possible to share our mission. Therefore, in 2014 I decided to create on the basis of the INKO group of companies a consortium of caring and active like-minded people who are ready to follow our values and make Technologies Alexey Bolbenkov, President of the INKO Group of Companies progress based on them. This union was called the "INKO Club", which now unites more than 20 companies operating in various business areas. It is a unifying environment in which communications are built, and where representatives of different industries, following the win-win principle, receive synergy from their cooperation. We can give a simple example: there is telecom and there is energy. On the basis of their synergy, a whole new industry is being created – "smart cities", where transport, security, ecology are also combined, where a comfortable environment for life, work and development is being formed.


"INKO-Club" has become an important experience of social activity for me. It showed that the knowledge and experience I gained in business can be socially useful. And the Committee on Energy Efficiency and Urban Infrastructure of the FBA EAC is exactly the platform where I can implement my efforts with the greatest result.

– Has the Committee already been fully formed?

– Now we face two tasks. Firstly, we need to attract as many people as possible with the competencies and capabilities we need, who are ready to use their resources for the development of the society. We will be glad to see new candidates. Our goal is to combine the competencies in the field of energy conservation and infrastructure that the members of the FBA EAC and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs have, and use this knowledge to implement projects in the regions. The Committee will develop and replicate best practices, making them available both to participants of the FBA EAC and RSPP, as well as to state and municipal structures. Thanks to this, we expect to achieve innovative development of the country in the field of energy, energy conservation and urban infrastructure. Many opportunities will open up for the participants. There are many committees in the FBA EAC – on economic and strategic development, international scientific and technical cooperation, ecology and nature management, industrial policy and engineering, and others. We intend to work in close partnership with each of them. This will provide prospects for creating the very synergy I mentioned above.

Secondly, our goal is to develop and propose a program for the modernization of urban infrastructure on a federal scale. Today, our country faces an acute problem: due to low energy efficiency, we simply "throw out a huge amount of money" every year. If a set of basic measures aimed at reducing energy losses is implemented throughout the country, Russia will be able to save more than 500 billion rubles a year. Moreover, the technologies that allow this to be done already exist and they have been worked out. The inertia of thinking, the lack of relevant competencies – both in the public sector and in business, as well as the insufficient level of funding – hinders.

– How do you intend to solve these problems?

– First of all, it is necessary to engage in education in order to overcome the very inertia in the minds and convey information about the possibilities of modern technologies to decision makers. Now everyone, no matter who you ask, has a willingness to change the situation in the field of energy conservation. But, firstly, there are concerns about possible risks, which in fact, in general, do not exist, and, secondly, the bureaucratic approach slows down. Even if tasks are set, but no one is personally responsible for their non-fulfillment, they most often go stalled because the changes frighten many. Without incentives and control from above, most prefer to work the old-fashioned way and show less initiative. To overcome administrative barriers, the political will of the higher management and clear regulations are needed. Specific instructions are most effectively executed, for ignoring which a clear responsibility is established, and incentives are provided for implementation. In my opinion, it should look like this: an order is issued requiring energy conservation in a particular institution or in an entire industry. And there is an automated system that monitors the execution of this order in real time. If the targets are not met, sanctions are imposed on those responsible. If they are executed, then the project participants receive, double the salary. And the existing regulatory framework allows it. And you can build such a mechanism: the city has saved, relatively speaking, 10 million rubles in a year – 20% of the savings goes to bonuses for those who ensured its achievement, from the governor to the heads of institutions. And this is a legitimate bonus for a good deed without any additional budget costs. And if the order to increase energy efficiency is not fulfilled, then perhaps it will be better if more progressive people come, those who will be able to act more quickly and will not be afraid of changes.

– And how to ensure the financing of such events?

– Let's do some math. The familiar "yellow" street lamp consumes 250 watts. Its replacement with a similar LED with a consumption of 80 watts will cost 12–14 thousand rubles and will allow saving about 25–28 thousand on the horizon of six years. It's the same with the interior lighting. Luminaires with fluorescent lamps consume 80 watts, and LED lamps, which are produced in Russia, and also by our company, consume 19 watts. They provide the same illumination, even better, because they shine without pulsation, which reduces the harm to vision. In addition, they are more environmentally friendly, since mercury lamps still need to be disposed. Replacement of the internal lamp costs about 2 thousand rubles. The savings over seven years will amount to more than 5 thousand. In a city with a population of about 500 thousand people, there will be about 25 thousand street lamps. In institutions, according to the norms, they use one lamp per 4 square meters of area. Based on these figures, the modernization of public sector lighting in the city will cost 700–800 million rubles. Considering that the economic effect can reach 1.5– 2 billion rubles within 6–7 years, this is quite easy to implement, especially since it is possible to attract private investment and borrowed funds.

If we extrapolate these investments to the whole country, the cost of modernizing lighting will amount, according to various estimates, from 700 billion to 1 trillion rubles. For the Russian economy, these are feasible investments. And the economic effect will reach 1.5–2 trillion rubles in six years.

So, we are not talking about costs, but about investments in the future, and investments with good payback prospects. Therefore, we believe that it is simply necessary to allocate funds from the National Welfare Fund and the Reserve Fund for the implementation of projects in the field of energy efficiency and urban infrastructure development. They have accumulated trillions of rubles.
have accumulated trillions of rubles. Banks are also interested in financing energy saving projects, as it is a reliable source of cash flows with minimal risks. Therefore, we use such a mechanism as an energy service, when an energy service company carries out relevant activities at its own expense or at the expense of attracted bank funds – replacement of lamps, installation of automation, modernization of equipment, ensuring guaranteed savings and efficiency. And the customer, without investing anything, immediately begins to receive savings. Part of the savings goes to the return of investment to the contractor, part remains with the customer. After the return of all investments with a profit, all energy-saving equipment is transferred free of charge to the customer, who then receives the full savings. This is a very profitable mechanism.

Energy efficiency is closely related to ecology. Therefore, when introducing technologies that reduce energy costs, it makes sense to raise funds by issuing green bonds. In my opinion, the state should actively subsidize the coupon income on these securities. The state is interested in the development of such technologies, since they provide a noticeable economic effect. A direct role in this is played by the reduction of budget expenditures on energy. The tax base is also increasing, as the volume of production of necessary equipment and services is growing. In addition, the carbon footprint is being reduced, and this entails a reduction in payments to the federal budget and industrial enterprises under the Paris Agreement. Therefore, we propose subsidizing interest rates on loans for projects related to energy conservation and green energy, for example, as in Europe. According to our calculations, every ruble invested by the state in subsidizing energy efficiency projects brings 2–3 rubles in the form of tax deductions within 5–10 years. Banks also benefit from participating in such programs: new cash flows arise, loan portfolios grow, thanks to the emergence of new reliable borrowers. The benefits for the population are also obvious: utility bills are decreasing, reducing the cost of production of consumer goods helps to contain inflation, the environmental situation is improving, cities are becoming cleaner and brighter. The saved funds are directed to important social needs and projects.

– What specific technological solutions will allow achieving such results?

– There are many technical solutions. These are gas-piston power plants, renewable energy sources (solar and wind power plants, heat pumps), the production of biogas from animal husbandry, poultry, crop production and household waste. Our consortium has its own "revolutionary" development – these are installations that allow converting reactive power and parasitic currents into useful power, which provides energy savings of up to 20–30%. These are very significant savings with a payback period of 2–3 years. There are no equivalents in the world yet.
The simplest thing to start with is the complete replacement of street and indoor lighting with modern LED lights, which reduce electricity consumption by 70–80% indoors and by 60- –70% outdoors. Nationwide, this will provide savings of hundreds of billions of rubles annually and is quite easy to complete. There is a proven mechanism for attracting investments through energy service contracts within the framework of Federal Law No. 44-FZ, a number of reliable companies are operating on the market that will qualitatively modernize lighting systems. We need to popularize these technologies in the regions.

The situation is similar for heat supply. First of all, it is necessary to install weather-controlled units on heating systems in the premises of budget institutions and apartment buildings. This automation should be installed everywhere, which in most cases will provide comfort and savings of more than 20%. Many of our buildings are heated excessively, and residents and organizations pay for overheating. The equipment is not complicated, investments in its installation pay off in a period of 4–5 years. Already inexpensive, but highly efficient ventilation systems with energy recovery can save up to 25% of thermal energy in winter, or cooling energy in summer. Simple climate control automation provides up to 10% additional savings. And most importantly, it will provide comfort and health to people. Insulation of facades, roofs and basements will give lifetime savings of another 20–30% and extend the life of buildings by 2 times.

Smart energy accounting of all resources and at all levels will eliminate commercial losses, ensure transparent accounting, monitoring of losses and quality control of energy resources, eliminate unbalance and increase convenience in calculations for consumers. The payback period for these activities is 8–10 years. Smoke, temperature, water leakage and gas leakage sensors will reduce the risks of accidents, fires and explosions in buildings by 10 times, which increases safety by an order of magnitude. Today, all this is affordable, and the cost of such events is incommensurable with the possible damage in their absence. I consider it a crime before future generations if all this is not done during major repairs and construction of new buildings.

The next complex step is the replacement of boiler houses with more energy-efficient ones. At the moment, 80% of boiler houses in Russia are outdated. They need to be replaced with more efficient ones, which use modern automation. This will reduce energy consumption by 10–20%. In the country as a whole, this is also hundreds of billions of rubles a year.

Of course, we need to change and modernize the networks, but this is a very capital-intensive task. It can hardly be solved within the framework of energy service contracts. But there are other models – a concession and a public-private partnership, which provide for the attraction of budgetary funds. But, as I have already said, there is money in the country, and losses in electric networks amount to 5–7%, in heat and water supply networks – more than 20%. This money lies under our feet, and we lose it day after day, month after month, year after year.

In cities, it is necessary to modernize lighting in streets, courtyards and buildings, use architectural lighting, change supports to aesthetic and multifunctional, remove air cables underground, improve the appearance of streets. It is necessary to introduce smart transport systems and road safety systems, video recording systems on the streets, in buildings and in courtyards, smart intercoms, smart parking, access control systems, eco-monitoring, telemetry of housing and communal services, highways, engineering systems and structures, information systems for urban management.

And the task of the Committee on Energy Efficiency and Urban Infrastructure of the FBA EAC is to propose mechanisms that will allow the introduction of these technologies, unite the efforts of all industry participants and stakeholders, attract investments and banks, use the national welfare fund, subsidies, so that this money works effectively and brings real economic benefits and benefits to residents of Russia, enterprises and the whole country.

Alexey Bolbenkov was born in 1974.
At school, I built my first computer based on the Soviet KP580BM80A processor. In 1996 he graduated from the Ryazan Radio Engineering Institute with a degree in "Design and technology of electronic equipment". At the same time with the training, he was engaged in sale and assembly of computers. In 1997, he began to conduct business activities in the field of telecommunications. He created the INKO Group of companies and launched more than 10 enterprises in Moscow, Ryazan, Bryansk, Lipetsk, Tambov and Volgograd regions. INKO Group companies designed, built and maintained cable television, Internet access and phone networks with a total length of more than 12,000 kilometers and with more than 1 million users. Due to the introduction of innovations, INKO enterprises were ahead of other participants in the telecommunications industry, including the largest providers, in terms of market share in the regions of their presence. Over the past four years, INKO Group has been actively investing in projects in the field of energy and energy conservation. The group's enterprises are modernizing the infrastructure of cities within the framework of energy service contracts, ensuring energy conservation and developing electricity and heat generation. Also among the activities of INKO Group are the production of LED lamps for street and indoor lighting, the production, installation and leasing of supports for mobile base stations and construction work. Currently, the group is also developing projects aimed at import substitution and produces hardware (screws) and software.