Russia more than triples capacity in 2020 but now faces delays

Wind farm commissioning in Russia has continued in 2020 as developers caught up with delays from 2019, but they now face a race against time, with 700MW still due to come online by the end of the year

Between January and August this year, 446MW of wind power capacity was commissioned in Russia (pic credit: RAWI)

The Covid-19 pandemic has not had a significant impact on the commissioning of new wind power capacities in Russia, as projects due online in 2019 have spilled over into this year.

Between January and August this year, 446MW of wind power capacity was commissioned in Russia, according to the energy ministry — more than twice the counntry's total wind power fleet at the start of the year. The country now has 641MW in total.

Much of this capacity is from projects that were due online in 2019 but were delayed by red tabe and other factors, according to Nikolai Posypanko from renewable energy analysts Vygon Consulting.

Most of these projects had been nearly ready for commissioning prior to the coronavirus pandemic, he explained.

Still, most Russian wind power analysts believe the impact of the pandemic will be more noticeable in the second half of the year.

There is a serious threat to almost 700MW of additional wind power capacity that is scheduled for commissioning in Russia before the end of the year. 

Supply chains are gradually recovering, but their complexity means many of these projects could be suspended indefinitely. Deliveries of imported equipment face delays due to the pandemic, while many foreign specialists still can not enter the country to install wind farms.

According to the Russian Kommersant business paper, Anatoly Chubais, a co-chairman of the Association of the Development of Renewables in Russia, asked to postpone the commissioning dates for all projects by at least a year in April. However, this position was not supported by the regulators, so the projects’ developers still face fines for late commissioning. 

The largest projects due online this year should be  commissioned by the Wind Energy Development Fund — a joint venture of Fortum and Rusnano — and VetroOGK, 250MW and 300MW, respectively. At the same time, Enel Russia is due to commission 90MW of wind capacity by the end of the year. None of these projects have started commissioning yet.

Meanwhile, some of the companies have already notified market participants about the force majeure at a number of their facilities

Russia's renewable energy support programme until 2024 involves building 105 wind farms in the country totalling 3.38GW. These plants are being built under power supply contracts, which allows guaranteed return on investment through payments from the wholesale energy market.