Mandelson Sees Big Energy Savings

British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said Wednesday that Russia could save up to 45 percent of the energy it consumes if it increased energy efficiency.

"In Russia, people described to me how they sleep through the winter with their heating on full blast but with their windows open, which is the ultimate perversity for a country like Russia," Mandelson told a conference at the British Embassy, referring to a widespread practice resulting from centrally controlled heating.

Severstal is going to spend 30 billion rubles ($1.1 billion) through 2018 on implementing energy saving programs at its smelters despite the crisis, Valentin Trubchanin, chief energy officer at the steelmaker's Cherepovets plant, said at the same conference.

Investing in energy efficiency programs would help companies survive the financial crisis, said Terry McCallion of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

However, Imperial Energy chairman Peter Levine said not all companies could afford such programs because they had no access to bank loans.