Russia finally makes plans to boost wind

RUSSIA: The Russian government has finally designed its long-awaited package of measures aimed at stimulating the growth of a domestic wind industry.

At the heart of the plans is increased wind power investment driven by electricity supply contracts. The right to enter into such agreements will be awarded to projects on a competitive basis. Local content requirements, which set the level of turbine components to be supplied locally, are also part of the plans, requiring 25% by 2016 and 50% by 2018.

Among the other potential measures of support are the provision of subsidies to the regions for wind farm construction, access to cheap loans, exemption from property tax for five years, setting of tariffs' surcharges and other measures.

The move is expected to give further impetus to the development of Russia's wind power market and speed the imple-mentation of a number of earlier announced projects in the industry, which has an estimated potential capacity of 2GW.

Among the biggest projects are those of German manufacturer Siemens, which is considering building wind farms in the Krasnodar, Altai, Volgograd and Orenburg regions. Each wind farm is expected to have 100-150MW capacity.

There is also a possibility of the construction of wind farms in the west of the country, in particular at St Petersburg.

Manufacturing options

Interest in establishing wind-turbine production in Russia has already been expressed by certain big investors. For example, Russian nuclear agency Rosatom has recently announced plans to manufacture wind turbines and has already established a subsidiary, VetroOGK, which is expected to be responsible for the project.

Russian hydroelectric company RusHydro and state-owned hi-tech company Rostekhnologii have recently agreed on a joint venture with Siemens to produce turbine components for the Russian market.

The Russian government hopes to follow Brazil, China and other emerging countries that in recent years have created conditions to develop their wind power industries and attract leading companies.

The plans have already attracted opposition. Dmitry Govorov, head of consumer group Community of Energy Consumers, said the implementation of the plans will increase the price of electricity for consumers between 3-4.5% by 2020.

At present, total wind power capacity in Russia is estimated at around 11MW.

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