By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – March 26, 2017

Champ éolien - Bourgogne 16.03.2017 - Copie

Wind farm – Photo credits : Swann Bigot, March 2017.

While a 35 MW wind farm is under construction in the Ulyanovsk oblast, local authorities consider to reach 1 GW of wind power capacity by 2024, covering 30% of the regional electricity generation. Russian and foreign companies work together on the project. According to the world wind atlas from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Ulyanovsk oblast has a good wind potential. Moreover, the well-developed local industry in automotive, aircraft and machine building needs local generated electricity.

A 35 MW wind farm is under construction in the Ulyanovsk oblast, in the European part of Russia. The Finnish energy company Fortum started the project in December 2016. The wind power plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The total investment amounts to €65 million.

In the second stage of this wind power project the capacity would be risen up to 600 MW since local authorities have decided to increase significantly the share of local wind power generation in the future.

The Russian state corporation Rusnano is also involved and  signed a preliminary cooperation agreement with the Finnish company Fortum during the 5th International Energy Efficiency and Energy Development Forum held in Moscow in November 2016.

Ambitious plans

The Ulyanovsk oblast expects to reach 1 GW of wind power capacity by 2024, stated the governor Sergey Morozov during the Russian Investment Forum held in Sochi last February.

While funding of the construction of the 35 MW wind farm amounts to € 65 million, the volume of investments needed to reach the 1 GW target by 2024 could be € 1 billion, noted the governor.[1] The share of electricity generated by wind turbines could be consequently increased to 30% by 2024.

The governor added that the oblast needs more energy than it generates and is forced to buy electricity at much higher prices than neighboring regions, which reduces the economic competitiveness of the local companies.

Read also : Russia announced a competitive tender to build 1.3 GW of wind power and 430 MW of solar power capacities by 2021

A 35 MW wind farm will soon enter into service. We have also decided to conduct wind measurements for a wind power plant with a capacity up to 600 MW and then we plan to introduce another wind farm with a capacity of 400 MW” said the governor.

Support from local authorities

Regarding the 35 MW wind farm, the regional authorities undertook the development of sites and infrastructure as well as the measurement of wind speed. The selected areas are being prepared for the installation of the equipment.

Several entities take part in the project. The consortium for the construction of the 35 MW wind farm includes the Ulyanovsk Region Development Corporation, DARS Managing Company, Ulyanovsk Technology Transfer Center ULNANOTECH and the company AeroComposit-Ulyanovsk.

The Center ULNANOTECH focuses on creation of a full production chain of wind turbines.

Once completed, the wind farm will be operated by the Finnish energy company Fortum. The wind power plant would start generating electricity this year and would supply Ulyanovsk, where live 620 thousand inhabitants.

This city located on the Volga is known for being an industrial center for aircraft, automotive and machine building industries. For instance, aircrafts An-124, Il-76MD-90A and Tu-204 are manufactured by the local company Aviastar-SP.

Ulyanovsk is also considered as a transport and logistic hub in the Volga federal district thanks to a developed network of roads and railways and the presence of an international airport.

Alexander Smekalin, the head of the regional government, stated that a project of renewable energy production based on the processing of domestic waste was also ready. Moreover, the creation of a network of small solar power plants would be under discussion. Note that a first solar energy facility has already been created jointly with the company DMG Mori in the Zavolzhye industrial zone.

Stimulate the regional economy

Sergey Morozov is convinced that the realization of the wind farm project will stimulate the regional economy by involving local industrial companies, creating new jobs and contributing to the reduction of the energy costs by increasing the share of renewable energy sources. Both large Russian and foreign companies would be interested in the development of renewable energy sources in the Ulyanovsk region according to him.

The governor told journalists: “Our region is not rich in natural resources. Therefore, we have realized that we have only one path of development which is linked to people’s intelligence and the creation of an efficient economy. Today, the Ulyanovsk State Technical University is preparing the opening of a new chair dedicated to “Wind power technologies”.

In this regard, Ivan Sergeyevich Ivanov, the general director of the Russian National Engineering Energy Center, stressed the need to train qualified workers and engineers for these new energy sources.

According to the Chairman of the Russian Association of Wind Power Industry Igor Bryzgunov, the Ulyanovsk region has great prospects in the development of wind power. Industrial potential, good logistics and a large number of areas for wind farms make it possible to produce locally wind generators and implement wind power projects.

The regional ministry of economic development said that a number of large regional machine-building companies, including Dimitrovgradkhimmash, ZenitKhimmash, and KTTS Metallokonstruktsiya, are already manufacturing towers for wind turbines. The company Legrand plans to build a new plant of low-voltage equipment for the wind power infrastructure, and Hempel will produce specialized paints for the needs of the project.

A good wind potential

More and more Russian regions launch renewable energy projects since Russia has a good wind potential according to the data of the world wind atlas from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). One of the leading places in Russia is the Ulyanovsk oblast.

DSCN1401 - Copie

One of the leading places in Russia for wind potential is the Ulyanovsk region.

Photo credits : Swann Bigot, May 2017.

Wind measurements conducted showed that the average annual wind speed in this region is 6.5-7.5 meters per second on different sites. This is a good industrial wind capacity, from which it is possible to generate energy with a good power coefficient of 33-35%. The power coefficient shows how efficiently a turbine converts the energy of the wind to electricity.[2] The established industrial standard is 35-40%.

Read also : A 60 MW wind farm in Northern Russia

Ambitious plans

Last November, Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Board of Rusnano, said that the state corporation plans to create two consortiums with Russian and international investors to implement projects of wind power plants in Russia. According to him, Rusnano intends to invest more than $ 174 million (RUB 10 billion) to develop wind power in the country.

Anatoly Chubais then added that Russia plans to build wind power plants across the country with total capacity reaching 3.6 GW by 2024.

Read also : Russian electric bus successfully tested in Saint Petersburg

Moreover, the Russian federal State will support renewable energy sources program since the Kremlin declared the year 2017 as the Year of the Ecology in Russia and the environmental issue has become a priority in the recent Strategy for scientific and technological development of the country. Besides, the development of renewable energy sources in Russia could help to diversify the energy sector which relies heavily on natural resources and could enable to sell on international markets Russian related technologies and equipment.

Read also : Solar power plant is expanding in Russia’s Orenburg region

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© Copyright 2017 – Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs.

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Sources : 

[1] « Губернатор Ульяновской области: увеличить ветрогенерацию в регионе до 1 ГВт. », Российская Ассоциация Ветроиндустрии, 20.03.2017 : ; « Ульяновская область намерена производить с помощью ветра 1 ГВт энергии в год », ТАСС, 28.02.2017 : ;

[2] « The Power Coefficient », Danish Wind Industry Association : ;