Russia

Russia

Lack of grid capacity hampers Russian growth

Following curtailment in the south of the country, government proposes changes that alarm investors

Analysts from the Russian energy ministry argue that the increasing commissioning rate of wind power in Russia – especially in the south of the country – could significantly impact local grids
Analysts from the Russian energy ministry argue that the increasing commissioning rate of wind power in Russia – especially in the south of the country – could significantly impact local grids

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The Russian government may limit construction of wind power in the south of the country over fears of renewables’ variability placing stress on local grid systems.

The draft move could feature in Russia’s new state programme to support renewables between 2025 and 2035, and could be passed in early 2021.

Currently, developers are able to change the location of planned wind farms, but may be prevented from doing so under the updated law.

Analysts from the Russian energy ministry argue that the increasing commissioning rate of wind power in Russia – especially in the south of the country – could significantly impact local grids.

Production at wind farms in some southern regions of Russia has already been curtailed at times and could be again later this year. According to the energy ministry analysts, the share of wind power in the overall electricity mix in southern Russia will reach 6% by 2024, and, if construction trends continue, it will rise to 14% by 2035. 

To ensure the reliable operation of the grid with a larger share of wind power, grid capacity will have to be expanded or the output of wind power plants to the grid will have to be limited at certain hours. 

However, due to the high cost of large-scale grid construction, the introduction of batteries could be the most promising solution.

Investors have criticised the government’s plans, fearing a lack of flexibility in developing projects, the Russian Renewable Energy Development Association told Windpower Monthly. 

They worry they may be tied to applications even in the event of restricted grid operations or local authorities boycotting their projects or creating barriers to implementation. ANother concern is that the use of batteries will increase the cost of wind power in Russia.

Investors suggest the government should determine the best sites for wind power development in Russia, ensure they are suitable for all market participants and offer them at open tenders.

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