Calls for easier development process in Russia

Russian wind developers, operators and analysts have called on the government to address issues holding back the industry, including the cost of land, setback distances and permitting procedures.

Constrictive project requirements -- like ground rent and set back rules -- are hampering the industry's growth in Russia (pic: Rusnano)

Major players including Fortum, Rosatom subsidiary Novawind and Enel raised the issues through a series of petitions calling for the government to solve the problems.

With quarterly rent exceeding $3 million for a 150km2 site in central Russia, the high cost of land can put off even large developers, the companies complained.

And even in a country as large as Russia, 30km setback distances imposed under the Russian Land Code can also prevent development.

An outdated planning framework in the country also complicates permitting, companies have argued.

In Russia, wind turbines are designated as "capital construction objects", meaning project permitting is carried out by the national government.

Instead, the companies argued, turbines should be classified as "equipment", meaning permitting could instead be handled at a regional level, which is usually associated with a shorter process and lower costs.

The developers also complain of regulatory functions being duplicated across several state bodies.

Together, these issues can mean grid connections to the grid can take between one-and-a-half and two years.

Fortum CEO Sergey Chizhov also claimed Russia’s existing requirements for technical and terrorist security can raise the capital costs of projects by 20-40%.