Thursday, February 8, 2018

Russia Energy efficiency and Renewable energy

Russia Energy efficiency and Renewable energy

Russia has almost unlimited potential to develop renewable energy projects. Russia has set 4.5% of the energy generation to come from renewable energy sources in 2020.
Technical-economic and geographical opportunities for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Russia are enormous – cost-effective investments are possible in district heating systems, buildings, and industry, and for wind, biomass, solar and geothermal energy.

Renewable energy currently comprises just 1% of Russia’s energy output, with the government planning to increase this to 4.5% by 2020, in the face of estimates suggesting that up to 30% of Russia’s energy demand could come from renewable sources.

That compares poorly with many international counterparts. The European Union is expecting to get 11.5% of its energy from renewable sources in 2010, rising to 20% by 2020 and 30% by 2030. In Canada the figure varies between 3.5% and 15% depending on the province, with the US figure varying between 5% and 30% depending on the state. Even fellow BRIC, India, is getting an estimated 10% of its energy from renewable sources.

The largest factor in why Russia doesn’t have a more sizeable renewable energy sector is its wealth of hydrocarbon based resources – copious amounts of oil, gas and coal. This coupled with a history which sees Russia dependent on energy exports for an estimated 80% of its foreign trade earnings has meant renewable sources have traditionally been viewed as minor players.

First of all, it is important to note that Russia is a well-established producer of hydroelectric energy, ranking fifth among the world’s producers of renewable energy. 15% of the country’s energy production originates from hydro sources, mostly from colossal hydroelectric power stations. The current discussions on measures to popularize renewable energy focus on decentralized and smaller projects for geothermal, tidal, wind, solar, biofuel, biomass and small-scale hydroelectric power stations. In these areas, renewable energy is still underdeveloped in Russia, although the environment and number of natural resources of the country present considerable potential for it.

Like people around the world, ordinary Russians, are increasingly concerned about global warming and the environment, and they want to do something about it.

Russia has a huge potential for tidal energy resources, although it is currently only scarcely used. The main difficulty in this field lies in the power transmission, as many of the prospective places lie in remote areas, necessitating for the electricity to be transmitted through large distances. The country has excellent potential for wind power generation as well. An attempt to utilize just 25% of its total potential would yield around 175,000 MW of power. The highest wind energy potential is concentrated along seacoasts, in the vast territories of steppes and in the mountains. Russia has a long history of small-scale wind turbines located in agricultural areas with low population density. As connection to the main energy grid is difficult there, small energy suppliers are in high demand. However, large-scale commercial wind energy production has been having a difficult stand so far in Russia. Solar potential is reasonable despite the country’s location in the northern latitudes. The highest solar potential is in the southern regions, especially in the Northern Caucasus.

Over the last several decades the Soviet Union conducted research and development on several forms of renewable energy. Technological infrastructure, scientific and technical knowledge, engineering and technical skills, and factories and equipment are all well developed assets.
There are several reasons why the use of renewable energy in Russia is still far behind Europe. First and foremost it is so because of the low cost of traditional and locally available energy sources. Russia is in possession of huge oil and gas reserves, which are easily accessible and make the production of fuel and energy very cheap. In order to keep the energy prices on the Russian market low, the Russian government imposes high export duties on all commodities.

Russia Energy efficiency and Renewable energy Now

A key part of Russia’s energy mix and the country’s strongest green energy suite remain the operations of RusHydro, with a generating capacity of 25 gigawatts (GW), and its origins in the massive engineering schemes of the Soviet era. The partially state owned company is a key vehicle through which the Russian government is pushing a greater emphasis on renewable energy, and within the last year has developed a strategy on renewable resources through to the year 2020 encompassing geothermal, wind, tidal, and hydro power.

Currently Russia has wind power operations in Kaliningrad with a capacity of 5.1 megawatts, to go with a 2.5 megawatt capacity wind power station StroyInvest-Energia in remote Chukotka with Far East Development Corporation and a further 2.2 megawatts of capacity in Bashkortostan. New wind power projects in the pipeline include those in the Leningrad and Krasnodar region, to go with plants scheduled for Dagestan, Primorski Krai, Karelia, Magadan and Altai, which are expected to add a further 276 megawatts to Russia’s wind power generation capacity.

Surprisingly in the minds of some, Russia has a range of suitable locations for pushing the use of solar power, with large expanses of Siberia and the Russia Far East, as well as the region between the Black and Caspian seas. Russia’s state owned nanotechnology corporation, Rusnano, has recently committed to supporting the development of polysilicons and monosilane in Irkutsk and the establishment of solar batteries in Novocheboksarsk.

Russia currently has four major geothermal power stations in Kamchatka for which expansion proposals are being developed. There is currently 80 megawatts capacity from these plants with plans to expand this beyond 120 megawatts. Russia also has smaller geothermal plants in the Stavropol region and the Kurile islands.

The vast bulk of Russia’s agricultural potential isn’t being used, with experts estimating Russia’s capacity to produce biofuels at 850 million litres. Russia has one complex in Omsk which produces a bioethanol blend with oil and plant based spirit from raw materials produced by Biokhim.

Almost all projects in the area are at the infant stage now with not much prospect of further development. As Russia has huge natural resources supply and it’s not pressing, the industry is very much unlikely to start developing.

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Zeljko Serdar , Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)