Polska pomoc


Ukrainian renewable energy clusters - real tool for development and effective cooperation of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises

The crisis in eastern Ukraine has revealed several weaknesses in the country’s energy sector: its dependence on Russia, the instability of its networks, inefficiencies in its economy and the sector’s lack of flexibility. The crisis has also impacted companies operating in the broadly defined renewable-energy sector.

In 2011, Ernst & Young ranked Ukraine 32nd on its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (ahead of Austria, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria). Since the introduction of green tariffs in 2009, there has been a steady increase in the number of renewable-energy projects in the country. The share of renewable energy sources (RES) in the total energy supply is still very low (1-4 per cent, depending on the source), yet the number of domestic and foreign companies involved in the development of this economic sector is on the rise. The relatively limited experience of local companies, which, moreover, do not cooperate with one another, in combination with the high market demand have prompted foreign investors to open offices in Ukraine, to form companies and to acquire Ukrainian projects, as they surpass local companies in terms of competitiveness and innovation.

This project is a response to the difficult position of local companies in the Ukrainian renewable-energy market and to the need for specialist know-how there. The Polish experience in RES is highly relevant to the situation in Ukraine. However, for that experience to be transferred efficiently and to the benefit of the Ukrainian economy, certain tools are needed, including RES clusters supported by ICT clusters, BEI clusters and knowledge clusters. Drawing on the best Polish cluster experience in establishing RES clusters in Ukraine is a tool that can generate an effective development stimulus, as it posits simultaneous reduction of Ukraine’s energy dependency on Russia and the revival of cooperation with the EU. The main premise for the creation and operation of such clusters is the anticipated synergy effect that the cluster connection participants would achieve through cooperation in various areas, such as conducting research, building infrastructure, developing joint offers for expansion to foreign markets, etc.

All these measures can be expected to contribute to improving the competitive position of all the entities associated within the clusters. Their expanded competencies will ensure diversity of the products and services they offer, and will jointly form a perfectly complementary, integrated and comprehensive offer for businesses and individuals interested in using modern energy solutions from renewable sources.

Ukrainian renewable energy clusters - real tool for development and effective cooperation of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises

One of the main challenges facing the Ukrainian economy is resolving its energy-related problems. This should not be left only to a handful of major energy companies, but should also engage smaller energy-sector players and those planning to enter the sector. This process should be supported by universities, which can provide the necessary theoretical knowledge; by local governments, which should create the legal and organisational framework for the operation of small companies in the energy sector; and by companies competing and cooperating in this field. Cooperative relationships between companies, local self-governments and universities in a specific geographical area are defined in Europe as clusters, entities that this project envisages forming in Ukraine. The development of this concept is not only needed, but it can also be implemented when preceded by the development of a manual for cluster initiators and a cluster operational strategy.

Business activity in the renewable-energy sector carried out by companies that come together in cooperative structures (clusters) enables their subsequent cooperation with larger entities and foreign operators. Clusters are instruments that make it possible to transfer know-how and expertise. They are also tools for building industrial and R&D consortiums, while cooperation within them offers the participating companies prestige and their clients a guarantee of quality and reliability.

The project included the following activities:

  • Development of a methodology for drafting a strategy and a manual for the activities of cluster leaders, initiators and coordinators;
  • Seminars for leaders, initiators and coordinators of the clusters being developed;
  • Recruitment of potential participants in Ukraine’s regional clusters;
  • Study tours of Poland for clusters’ founding groups;
  • Development of a cluster development strategy and an operational business model for clusters through, among other things, the organisation of workshops for participants in the RES cluster;
  • International promotion of these clusters: a study visit to Poland for corporate entities engaged in the clusters combined with their participation in energy trade fairs.

Ukrainian renewable energy clusters - real tool for development and effective cooperation of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises

  1. Improved operation of Ukrainian enterprises active in the renewable-energy sector through the creation of eight clusters. These clusters were formed through a process involving the participatory development of strategies and business models in the following cities: Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Rivne, Vinnitsa, Kharkov, Dnipro, Odessa and Poltava.
  2. Increased competencies among the leaders, initiators, coordinators and members of the eight newly formed clusters in terms of their functioning, effective management, market activity and e-marketing achieved through the participation of 262 people in seminars, workshops and study visits.
  3. Development of cooperation between RES companies, local governments and other entities through the engagement of 121 companies and other entities in cluster structures.
  4. Expanded knowledge about the role and significance of a cluster-based economy and the development of a cluster policy, and intensification of the dialogue around the idea of clustering through the organisation of 27 meetings, seminars and study visits that addressed these topics.
  5. Increased promotion of the Ukrainian companies that are members of the eight clusters through participation in four trade fairs, exhibitions and industry meetings (Lublin, Kyiv, Madrid and Turin).
  6. Forty-two representatives of the newly formed clusters learned about the idea of clustering and the enterprise development methods employed in Poland through their study visits there.
  7. Ten key documents for the operation and development of RES clusters in Ukraine were drafted: a handbook for cluster leaders, coordinators and moderators; a methodology for cluster strategy development employing a participatory method; and eight cluster development strategies.