Wind energy development in Russia is lagging due to a lack of an appropriate regulatory framework.
Two different and contradictory support mechanisms have been written into law, but are still not functioning.
Russia has a huge wind energy potential. Regional public utilities own most of the wind energy assets. Grid connection costs are unclear.
The Russian Federation has been a long standing electricity exporter. Thermal power plants accounted for over 60% of total gross electricity generation since 2009, while nuclear and hydro plants produced 17% and 16% respectively.
There is very little installed wind power capacity in Russia, consequently its share of the generation mix is negligible.
National renewable energy plan
National indicative targets for renewable energy electricity generation have been set in the Energy Strategy of Russia to 2030.
According to the strategy, 4.5% of electricity should be generated by renewables in 2020. Afterwards, the share of renewables should not fall below this level.
According to the strategy achieving this target requires the connection of at least 25 GW of new renewable capacity to the grid by 2020.
The 2010 target of 1.5% renewable electricity was not met. According to the Energy Forecasting Agency, only about 0.3 to 0.4 GW of new renewable energy power plants will be built by 2020 and the 4.5% target might be met only in 2030.
The agency’s forecasts are not aligned with the strategy and offer a different view on future development of the Russian renewables sector.
According to the latter’s reference scenario, 6.1 GW of new renewable energy capacity is expected by 2030. In its maximum growth scenario, the agency forecasts new renewable energy capacity to reach 14.1 GW by 2030, considered sufcient to meet 4.5% of consumption by 2030.Again, this is in stark contradiction with the energy strategy.
Wind energy in Russia
With no regulatory framework or support scheme for renewables, the Russian wind energy sector is underdeveloped.
Although Russia is the largest country in the world and has the longest coastline, installed wind power capacity was only 15.4 MW at the end of 2011.
Moreover, the majority of the capacity comes from small wind farms that currently dominate the Russian market.
Only four wind farms had total installed capacity exceeding of 2 MW.
Russia has many locations with favourable wind conditions for wind energy. The regions with the highest wind potential are the coastlines of the Pacic and Arctic Oceans, the Caucasus region, the Urals region, the Altai and the Sayan mountains.
Currently, the largest wind farms are located in the Kaliningrad Region, Republic of Bashkortostan, Republic of Kalmykia and in Chukotka.
Most wind turbines are owned and operated by state controlled regional utility companies that also operate the local transmission systems.
Most wind turbines installed in Russia began operating before 2002 and are less than 1 MW. The only two larger wind turbines were manufactured by Vensys in 2011.
Cumulatively, however, Vestas is the largest turbine supplier, both in terms of total capacity and number
Since the Russian wind energy sector is underdeveloped, modern wind turbines with capacity higher than 1 MW are not produced in Russia. Moreover, there is a limited local supply chain, as domestic companies do not have experience in manufacturing components for modern wind turbines or in building and servicing wind farms.
Wind energy support scheme
In November 2007, the Russian government adopted a federal law introducing the Electricity Premium Scheme for renewables. According to this law, qualified producers should receive the wholesale electricity market price plus a premium for the electricity generated.
The premium should be applicable until the national renewables targets are met. Thus, the period during which the premium will be paid is not xed and can be shortened at any stage during a wind farm’s operating lifetime. Although this renewable support mechanism is legally binding, regulations setting up the scheme and determining how the premium is calculated have not been adopted.
The electricity producer is required to sign a capacity market trading system accession contract with the market council.
The wholesale market electricity buyers are obliged to purchase a certain amount of electricity produced by renewables at a determined price.
In December 2010, the law introducing the capacity based scheme, which does not repeal the electricity premium scheme, was adopted. According to the new law, the market council determines a feed-in tariff for new power plants included in a list prepared by the government.
Renewable feed-in tariffs are applicable for 10 years and approved for new facilities until the national renewable targets — calculated in installed capacity — are reached.
However, neither the parameters for calculating the tariff nor the national capacity (MW) targets have been determined.
Furthermore, the law requires the government to adopt the list of new power plants which can conclude power purchase agreements at a feed-in tariff but does not specify a mechanism for selecting the assets.
It is thought that the government could announce tenders for power plants at a specic location and then approve
the assets on the basis of the submitted bids.
Nevertheless, it is unclear how the two support mechanisms are meant to coexist.
Key agencies and institutions
Since the restructuring of the electricity market in 2008, the Ministry of Energy is responsible for energy policy. The Federal Grid Company of Unied System is a government controlled operator and owns the high voltage transmission system. The government is also the largest shareholder in a number of the 11 regional distribution grid companies. The remaining ownership stakes have been privatised.
The market council operates the commercial and technological infrastructure of the wholesale market.
In addition, it regulates the market, adopts standard contractual forms for securing trade on the market and approves renewable electricity generation facilities.
Electricity prices have been liberalised. As of August 2012, approximately 80% of electricity was traded on the wholesale market. This competitive market has, however, not been extended to isolated regions, such as the Russian Far East, Kaliningrad and Arkhangelsk regions.
Grid connection costs for renewable energy facilities with installed capacity up to 25 MW should be covered by the government. However, as of August 2012, it was not clear how the installed capacity should be calculated and whether investors have to pay grid connection costs themselves up front, and then ask for reimbursement or whether the government pays the costs directly to the grid operator.
Opportunities and challenges
Although laws promoting renewables have been adopted, the necessary legislation and regulations to launch the support mechanisms have yet to be determined.