Analysis: Russia's local sourcing requirement scares off investors

RUSSIA: Russia's recent tender for 1.6GW wind only attracted one bidder, Czech fund Falcon Capital, which applied to build a mere 51MW. The tender to build wind power projects in Russia over 2015-2018, was notable for Russia's local sourcing conditions.

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Falcon already has experience of the Russian wind market as it currently operates several projects in Russia's Kalmykia republic through its local subsidiary, Alten.

According to an Alten spokesman, the company plans to build the 51MW in 2015 in Kalmykia,investing more than EUR 60 million.

Part of the funds for the project will be provided by Germany's Landesbank Berlin and Russia's Sberbank, the country's largest bank, owned by the state.

The implementation of the project is part of an agreement Falcon Capital signed with the government of Kalmykia in June 2007 to construct wind farms totalling up to 300MW. The total investment is estimated at EUR 600 million.


Other investors did not participate in the tender, probably due to the strict local sourcing requirements, as well as unclear state policy on renewables. Under the terms of the contest, investors should ensure a minimum of 50% of local sourcing for equipment in 2015, and at least 70% in 2016-2018.

Russian analysts believe that this feeling is quite understandable. According to Sergey Tulyakov, head of  wind developer Vetro OGK, which is part of Russian power engineering company Atomenergomash, blades are still not produced in Russia, and not enough components can be produced locally to meet the requirement.

Although interest from foreign investors in making turbine components in Russia has significantly increased, it takes time to build a production base, Tulyakov said. To make the production of wind blades in Russia economically feasible, 2GW of wind would have to be build per year, he added.

Gamesa and the GE are among the potential investors in the building of wind-power component factories, according to Tulyakov.

Last year Russian solar and wind developer Solar Energy Group of Companies won a previous wind tender. The company applied to build 105MW of wind generation during the period of 2016-2018. The company is now searching for partners in the project and construction work could start by the end of the year.

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