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Growing Markets in the Renewable Energy Industry: The Potential for Russia to Export Renewable Generated Energy to Europe

15 October 2021
Растущие рынки ВИЭ: есть ли потенциал экспорта энергии из России в Европу


Russia is already in an advantageous position when it comes to green energy 

“Russia is already a leader in producing low carbon power across all major global energy systems. In our country, over 80% of energy is produced by way of nuclear power, hydropower, renewable sources of energy, and the most ecologically friendly extractive fuel – natural gas. Less than 13% of our power generation comes from coal. For comparison, that figure is less than in countries such as the United States of America, Germany, Turkey, China, and Poland,” Alexey Kulapin, General Director, Russian Energy Agency (REA) of the Ministry of Energy of Russia.

“If we’re speaking of Russia's Unified Energy System, not taking into account Siberia, our records show we have 16 GW, a surplus, until 2027. There is enormous potential for developing exports. This power generation, for the most part, has a small carbon footprint,” Aleksandr Ilienko, Deputy Chairman of the Management Board – Head of the UES Development Directorate, System Operator of the Unified Energy System.

Europe will need Russian power in the short and long-term 

“A recent study by the Germany Energy Agency found out that that by 2030, we will need more than 670 TW hours of green electricity in Germany alone. So it's clear that the future market for green electricity in Germany is huge and, obviously, when it comes to importing renewable energies, we look at Russia. Because we can build on a very successful and reliable partnership which has lasted already for more than half a century,” Kristina Haverkamp, Managing Director, German Energy Agency (DENA).

“Taking into account that the very ambitious goals established by the European Union on decarbonization and the development of green power, on the development of the potential of green hydrogen, Europe and Russia need each other more than ever,” Stephane Zweguintzow, General Director, Enel Russia.


Difficult relations between the European Union and Russia and the effects of economic sanctions

“In order to discuss such, in my opinion, promising areas not only for development, but for the qualitative transformation of relations between the European Union and Russia, we truly must return to a political dialogue. I want to remind everyone that the energy dialogue has been halted since 2014,” Stephane Zweguintzow, General Director, Enel Russia.

“When it comes to power grid interconnections from Russia to Europe, we can’t really just talk about Germany, because it is an integral part of the European power market now. [...] We do have economic sanctions in place, which is a limiting factor, because it denies access to some primary and secondary European capital to the stakeholders in Russia. [...] Political momentum still has an effect on the practical implementation of cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation,” Maria Pastukhova, Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

Technical complexities of synchronizing to energy systems

“Regulations play an enormous role in these sectors. We need to carefully pay attention to the technical and construction demands related to the implementation of such a complex project,” Egor Grinkevich, Deputy General Director for Development of Technical and Regulatory Regulation of Wind Power Plants, NovaWind.

“We need a 2 GW, for example, as a start, HVDC link of about 1500 km between Vyburg, Russia and Greifswald. An HVDC submarine cable would be possible, under the Baltic Sea, the power could be 2 GW, with a modern 524 kV cable and IGBT inverters on both sides to overcome the problems with the two frequencies in Russia and Germany,” Bernd Engel, Director, Institute for High Voltage Technologies and Energy Systems, Braunschweig University of Technology.

“These projects are ones that we should strongly consider. But this will definitely not occur because the rapid changes occurring in technology, the economy, programme development, and decarbonization is such that any solutions will be always be out of date,” Alisher Kalanov, Head of the Investment Division, RUSNANO.


Accelerating decision-making about new types of energy exports

“This electric bridge needs to be studied, compared with green hydrogen transport via Nord Streams 1 and 2, because natural gas transport will become obsolete in the 2040s at the latest,” Bernd Engel, Director, Institute for High Voltage Technologies and Energy Systems, Braunschweig University of Technology.

“What kind of other power generation is there? Night falls, the sun sets, and, sometimes, the wind dies down. However, there are enormous reserves of geothermal energy under the Earth’s surface. The energy sector has made significant progress over the last 60 years. If, in the past, it was very difficult to reach a depth of 5 km, now that is normal. Perhaps it would be possible to generate geothermal energy and export some of it to Europe through Kaliningrad,” Mikhail Kamyshev, General Director, Oil-Service.

“I would suggest to our colleagues that they consider starting exporting earlier. Why should we wait for years while energy bridges are being built, while renewable energy facilities are constructed on the peninsula, when we already have clean energy in Russia today,” Alexandra Panina, Member of the Management Board, Inter RAO; Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Council of Power Producers.

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