Wind power in Murmansk to become a reality

Publish date: October 14, 2008

Written by: Anna Kireeva

Translated by: Charles Digges

MURMANSK – An interdepartmental commission for siting industrial scale projects in this region has approved a declaration to build a €300 million wind energy park that, in its first stages, will provide 200 megawatts of power to the region, and be in full service by 2013.

“This project was thought up in 2001, but, unfortunately, Russian energy laws at the time did not allow the development of ‘clean energy,’” said Paul Logchies, founder of the Russian Windlife Artic Power company, during a meeting on the project.  

The company, which is 51 percent owned by its parent company in the Netherlands, Windlife Energy BP, is the developer and executor of the Murmansk wind park project.

Logchies said that high ecological standards will be observed while carrying out the project.

“The area where the wind park will be located is very vulnerable from an ecological point of view,” he said. “We deal with the project with enormous respect.”

Stage on of the project
The first stage of realising the project are expected to take place in the vicinity of the Teriberka and Tummany.

The construction site for the wind parks have been chosen for the wind measurements they have yielded over several years of study by the Kola Scientific Centre.

“The fate of the project with depend on the success of the first stage of the project,” said Windlife Arctic Power General Director Grigory Dmitriyev.

According to Dmitriyev, expansion may come with the successful fulfillment of the first stage of the project. However, even before the wind parks are constructed, it will be necessary to conduct a year and a half to two years of full-scale investigations.

“These will allow us to define the place that is necessary to put the wind mills, and also help prepared for weather changes,” Dmitriyev said.

Dmitriyev said the coming project would be the biggest wind park in Russia. The foundations for the wind parks will begin to be laid in summer, 2009, and the next year, the wind installations themselves will begin to be assembled. By 2011, it is expected that the wind park will be functional at 50 percent of its engineered power, and at 100 percent by 2013.

Dmitiryev said the cost of the project had significantly risen.

“Originally, we had counted on putting in €200 million. However, the recent past has seen a boom in wind power around the world. The companies handling wind park  production have been bogged down totally,” he said.

As the demand for wind parks went up, so did their price.

“We are counting on an envisioned cost of  €1,500 per kilowatt of power, therefore the cost of the first stage will be €300 million,” Dmitriyev said.

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development will be assuming many of the costs for the wind park. Deutsche Bank, Windlife Energy BP and the Nordic Environment Finance Company (NEFCO), will also take on some of the burden.

Construction of the wind parks

More than 100 specialists will work on the first stage of the project.

According to its designers, the first 20 to 30 aggregates of the first stage will be purchases abroad. After that, specific parts of the wind parks will be purchased from Russia producers.

“We are holding talks with Russian factories, including those in the Murmansk Region, on the subject of which parts for the windmills they can produce,” said Dmitriyev. “The companies are very interested in cooperating in this direction.”

Dmitriyev said that construction would be overseen by the Dutch, as there are no specialists in Murmansk or Russia to do so. Russia specialists will be trained for the ongoing operation of the parks.

According to Bellona Murmansk’s Energy Project coordinator, Nina Lesikhina, renewable energy, specifically wind energy, is not only ecologically clean, but also a profitable sector in the economy of many countries. Germany has  wind parks providing 24,000 megawatts of Energy, and the United States, 16,000 megawatts. Russia currently only has 7 megawatts, despite the fact that technical wind potential is large, and consists of 2,000 million tons of conventional fuel.  

“There are many reasons for this,” said Lesikhina. “There is the traditional dependence on fossil fuels and atomic energy, the absence of economic measures to stimulate the development of renewable energy, and, first of all, the absence of a legislative base.”

Lesikhina says that the government must create favourable conditions for the development of ecologically clean and renewable energy by means of formulating laws providing state support to such projects. This legislative black hole is the main obstacle to large-scale development of wind energy.

“The approval of the construction of a wind park in the Murmansk Region is an example of the successful initiative of the region, and display of reasonable policy by the local administration,” said Lesikhina.

Russian legislation on renewable energy
In discussing the wind park project, its engineers found unavoidable discussions of possible changes to Russian legislation on renewable energy.

On October 1st 2008, regulations on the qualifications of renewable sources of energy came into force, which were written into the government decree “On Qualifications of a Generating Installation Funding on a Basis of Use of Renewable Sources of Energy.”

Another act that should be issued soon by the Russia government is the official mouthful: “On the Definition of the Fundamental Directions of Government Policy in the Sphere of Increased Energy Efficiency based on the use of renewable sources of energy containing specific indicators of volume of production and use of electric energy with the use of renewable sources for energy in joint aggregate production of electrical energy.”

This document will define national goals for the long term – until 2020 – and will give evaluations of their contents.

“For the first time in Russia, figures have been formulated relative to how much renewable energy there will be in the country from each concrete source,” said Dmitriyev. “ For instance, for wind, 1800 to 2000 megawatts of power should be built by 2020. It is estimated how much that will cost per year, and how much needs to be earmarked annually in order that all of this is developed.”
Dmitriyev said that in the document, subsidies for the development of each type of renewable energy have been signed.

“As concerns wind energy, the subsidies must be comprised of two to five roubles for each kilowatt hour of released energy. This will immediately sharply reduce the pay back time of the project, especially in polar conditions,” he said.

One of the drawbacks noted by Dmitriyev is the subsidisation of wind energy parks that put out no more than 25 megawatts of power.

“And we are talking about a project of 200 megawatts. Apparently, it will be necessary to build 25 megawatt wind parks step by step,” said Dmitriyev.

He said that the period over which the project would pay for itself without the new act of the government would be 26 to 17 years, and with its adoption, five to seven years, and under specific circumstances, could pay itself off in three years.