European loan aids Russian renewables

Russia's modest renewable energy infrastructure will be given a funding boost with a 6.3bn rouble (185m euro) loan, allotted to modernising an aging hydroelectric power complex.

Renovation work funded with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) loan will increase the life of nine power stations along the Volga-Kama cascade, one of Russia’s biggest hydropower sources, by at least 25 years.

Renovating the power stations’ turbines, generators and transformers is expected to cost at least 26bn roubles in total.

Hydro-power provides a fifth of Russia’s power, and is the main green energy source in a country rich in fossil fuel resources where renewables are only just emerging.

The EBRD has tried to accelerate their emergence with this and previous loans. In 1998, the bank provided a 1m euro grant to the Mutnovskiy geothermal plant in Kamchatka.

Energy company HydroOGK, the owner of the Volga-Kama hydro-power plants, will use the ERBD loan to consolidate a number of hydro-power plants into what is to become the world’s second largest hydroelectric company.

With a capacity of 23.3 GW, the Russian hydro-giant will only be surpassed by Canada’s Hydro Quebec.

Although other renewable power sources are yet to make it big in Russia, the EBRD is also planning to develop a regulatory framework for wind farms, using a 165,000 euro grant from the Spanish government.

Goska Romanowicz

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