Bellona St. Petersburg energy forum hears big bucks in the wind

frontpageingressimage_wind_feature.jpg Photo: Siemens

Igor Bryzgunov, who heads Russia’s wind energy association, presented the figures during the Bellona Forum for Renewable Energy in St. Petersburg on Friday. There, he spoke of a number of wind power projects that are  slated to make an appearance in Russia.

Large wind power development has been –  and remains –  a challenge in Russia, despite it great potential for deployment and use in many of the country’s  regions.

And only a small number of the projects that Bryzgunov spoke of have gone far enough down the road that they actually produce power – most currently remain in a holding pattern of demonstration development and planning. What is forcing most of these projects to wait is final approval– and much needed funding for – their implementation. 

Not science fiction

‘We see that many investors are hesitant to invest money in wind power, but this is not science fiction. This is technology that exists –  and that works,” said Bryzgunov.

“Now is no time to invest, for the Russian market is promising – here we will soon be able to talk about a one billion (Norwegian Kroner) turnover, he said. He invited several of the forum’s participants to join the wind energy association.

A company that currently do not participate in the association is Vetroenergo. Veterenerto built the one wind turbine functioning in Murmansk, which produces electricity for the nearby hotel, Ogni Murmansk. Electricity production began in 2008, and the windmill has an approximate capacity of 200,000 kilowatt hour per year.

Don’t wait for government subsidies

Vetroenergo managing director, Vladimir Kiselyov, is, like Bryzgunov, optimistic regarding the development of wind power market in Russia – albeit from a different starting point:

“The Russian market is better today than some years ago, but still not good enough for proper wind power,” Kiselyov told the Bellona forum.  

“There are not simply not enough government subsidies to encourage large scale investment. So instead of sitting and waiting for state funding to come into place, Vetroenergo is working on a smaller scale – and with a slightly different angle, “says Kiselyov

Step by step business approach

“We believe in a commercial approach where we initiate collaboration with major industry players and ensure that we have the knowledge of the full potential thorough market research before we begin, “Kiselyov said, elaborating on his company’s approach. “Because we take it step by step the projects are more predictable,” he said.

“This is clearly a more difficult approach than waiting on state subsidies, but we can at least set projects in motion,” said Kiselyov.

“Next year we will offer consumers wind power, and within two or three years we hope to have a small wind farm in place with a potential of 25 megawatt hours among 12 mills,” he said.

Forums are an important arena

Kiselyov has participated in several of Bellona’s energy forums in Murmansk, and now St. Petersburg, and he has faith in the significance the meetings.

“This is an important and useful arena for different actors to meet, where we can discuss and exchange new ideas, marketing ideas and establish a good network,” Kiselyov told Bellona Web.

“Moreover, Bellona plays an important role both in Russia and on the international state. They can exert pressure on the authorities that we as industry players cannot because they in many ways (Bellona) represents the people. And in this way we can lead the way forward has a team,” said Kiselyov.

Ruth Astrid Saeter

ruthastrid@bellona.no

Charles Digges