By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – April 22, 2017


Wind turbines – Source : pixabay

The German energy company SOWITEC  wants to build a 90 MW wind farm in the Rostov oblast in Southern Russia for a global cost estimated at $ 178 million. This is more than all existing wind power facilities in Russia. The agreement was signed at the Sochi 2012 investment forum. The construction would start in 2017 and would be completed by 2020. Wind power capacities in Russia are expected to increase up to 3.6 GW by 2024, as the Russian energy corporation Rosatom intends to build capacity of at least 610 MW over 2018-2020. Western companies such as Fortum, Lagerwey or SOWITEC Group take part in these wind farm projects.

A 90 MW wind farm project in the Azov district was recognized as a large-scale investment project in February 2017 and received a land plot of 133 hectares for ten years on the coast of the Taganrog Bay of the Azov Sea, near the village of Port-Katon.

The binding agreement was signed by the regional governor Vasily Golubev, according to the press service of the government of the Rostov oblast.

The preliminary cost of this wind power project led by the German energy holding SOWITEC International GmbH amounts to $ 178 million. The construction would start by the end of 2017.

The wind farm must start supplying electricity to the wholesale market in 2020. The power delivery and connection schemes to substations are being working out.

The construction agreement was signed by the government of the Rostov oblast and  OOO SOWITEC Rus during the Sochi 2012 investment forum.

OOO SOWITEC Rus, registered in Moscow in 2009, is the Russian subsidiary of the German energy holding SOWITEC International GmbH. The wind power project will be implemented by the company OOO Azovskaya VES, a subsidiary of SOWITEC operation GmbH.

According to the Investment Development Agency of the Rostov Oblast, the project must be implemented in several stages: firstly, the company planned to install wind turbines with a total capacity of up to 20-30 MW, then up to 80-100 MW. A total of 80 wind turbines could be launched in the wind farm.

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

In 2014 the company OOO SOWITEC Rus completed wind measurements on the selected area. The air flow rate reached 7.5 m/s. while the minimum average commercial rate should be 4 m/s. These results showed that the region is promising for wind power.

SOWITEC Group claims to be the leading developer of wind energy projects in Baden-Württemberg and Latin America. The company has now 30 wind farms in operation in Germany.

Good prospects for wind power in Russia

According to the state corporation Rosatom, wind power generation capacity in Russia would amount up to 3.6 GW by 2024. The estimated volume of the potential market for wind energy equipment, facilities and maintenance and aftersales services could reach $ 7 billion.

Rosatom plans to buildwind farms with a total capacity of at least 610 MW over 2018-2020.

This is an entirely new industry in Russia” stated Kirill Komarov, First Deputy General Director of Rosatom. The state corporation set the goal to build wind farms and to create technical regulations, personnel training, certification, R&D activities and localization of production of wind turbines, including blades in a volume of at least 250 MW per year, at the production facilities of AO Atomenergomash and UMATEX Group.

Read also : Ulyanovsk region will host 1 GW wind power capacity by 2024

Rosatom approved in January 2017 a partnership between OAO OTEK (a subsidiary of Rosatom) and the company Lagerwey, the Dutch manufacturer of wind turbines. Lagerwey will transfer the technologies necessary for the production of wind turbines to OAO OTEK. In 2017, both organizations would create a joint venture with equal shares.

Public support towards wind power

Major changes have occurred over the past five years in Russia in the support of renewable energy sources. A program to support the construction of renewable energy capacities by 2024 (3,6 GW of wind power) is currently implemented. Special measures have been adopted to develop this new industry.

Therefore, the framework of compensations for capital expenditures has been approved as well as the legal criteria necessary to receive public support (local production of wind turbines and components) and a currency ratio was introduced.

Read also : A 60 MW wind farm in Northern Russia

In 2016, the state corporation Rosatom took part in the competitive selection of renewable energy projects and won the right to implement projects with a total capacity reaching 610 MW over the period 2018-2020 with a localization level of 55%.

Rosatom intends to manufacture wind turbines and equipment with its own resources and has recently approved a partnership with the Dutch company Lagerwey in this sense. That means that manufacture capacities of wind turbines and related equipment will develop in Russia, and would supply future wind power projects.

In order to start really developing in Russia, the wind turbine industry needs the expansion of wind power projects across Russia to create a local demand of equipment and expertise. The economic recovery will play an essential role in the development of renewable energy capacities in the country. Note that Russia’s GDP fell by 0.6 percent in 2016, according to the Ministry of Economic Development. In 2017, the economic growth would reach 2% according to official forecasts.

Wind farms projects are currently carried out in the Ulyanovsk region, Rostov Region, Republic of Karelia. Other projects are under discussions in the Republic of Adygea, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai and other regions with energy deficit and large wind potential.

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

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