Russia’s Green Perspectives

Traditionally, at the end of the year 2014 we made an overview of its most important outcomes. RSEU Climate Secretariat highlighted a few events that took place in Russia last year that seem to increase our country’s chances for green development.

Elimination of Custom Duties on Electric Vehicles

The duty on electric passenger vehicles is eliminated, effective February 1, 2014. This means that there will be no import duties on electric cars until December 31, 2015 – the tariff was temporarily lowered from 19% to zero. Besides that, the Russian Government provided free parking and charging for electric vehicles.

Electric cars are still not too widely popular in Russia, and only about 50 such vehicles are sold annually in the entire country. However, according to the experts from the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, by 2020 over 200 thousand electric cars will be sold in our country every year. In its turn, ‘Rosseti’ (also, ‘JSC Russian Grids’, the largest electricity transmission and distribution grid company in Russia) announced their plans to expand the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Moscow, creating up to 80 charging stations by the end of this year. By 2020, the company is planning to spread the network of vehicle charging infrastructure all over the territory of Russia.

Locally Made Hybrid Cars

Russian car manufacturer AvtoVAZ completed the development of hybrid cars under the contract with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. As the result, three hybrid versions of Lada Granta sedan were created. The new cars correspond to Euro-5 and Euro-6 emissions standards. According to AvtoVAZ representatives, the car’s power unit possesses a 160 horsepower and 240 newton-meter turbo engine, the first one of its kind ever made by AvtoVAZ. However, it is still unknown when the eco-friendly car will enter the Russian market.

New State Standard

The new all-Union State Standard (GOST R) “Energy performance of buildings. Economic evaluation procedure for energy systems in buildings” was approved in 2014. According to its initiators, the implementation of the standard will help to increase energy efficiency of buildings and lower down building and maintenance costs. It will also be helpful during the development of a feasibility study procedure, while looking for better ways to implement energy saving measures in a building, and a best possible combination of such measures. The document will come into force effective July 1, 2015.

The Largest Solar Power Station in Russia

A 5MW solar power station, Russia’s largest to this date, was put into operation in Kosh-Agachsky district, Altai Republic. President Putin officially inaugurated it in the beginning of September, via a videoconference. The press materials state that the power output of Kosh-Agach solar station is 5MW and that it will provide a stable and reliable power supply to three municipal districts of the region’s territory, with a population of 44.3 thousand people. The planned electric energy production is 9 million kWh per year. It only took three months to build the power station, which is quite impressive, having in mind the usual time-consuming building projects for traditional power installations.

Yakutia Leads in Alternative Energy

Yakutia became the first Russian territorial entity to adopt a law on renewable energy sources. Yakutskenergo, the regional electric and heat utility company, intends to reduce its production costs by implementing renewables on remote and isolated territories, among other things. It is interesting to note that Yakutia has been a leader in implementing renewable energy projects over the last years. Nowadays, solar and wind energy is used in six residential areas of the republic. According to Yakutia’s Ministry of Housing and Energy, over 110 tons of diesel fuel were saved in the Republic thanks to the use of renewable energy sources over the year. The Yakutian experience proves that renewable energy may be successfully utilized in the conditions of the North, and that Yakutian solar activity does an equally great job as that of Krasnodar region or, for instance, Spain.

Aiming at Diversification

At the Assembly of IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, Alexey Teksler, Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Energy, announced the course towards energy diversification. According to Mr. Teksler, as the result of the implementation of state support measures, in 2020 the total power output of renewable energy power installations in the Russian Federation will reach 6GW, while total investments in the sector will reach around $8.8 billion. “In order to implement the innovative fuel and energy technology policies, in 2014 the Government adopted several decisions to make a transition to the use of the best available technologies principle. Additionally, a road map to implement innovative technologies and modern materials in different branches of the fuel and energy complex until 2018 was developed and approved. Over the past few years, large-scale fuel and energy sector diversification processes have been initiated. They encompass delivery types and directions, the development of the domestic market of energy resources, the creation of new production plants and technologies, including those dealing with renewable energy.”

Unfortunately, those actions have not had a visible effect on the renewable energy sector in Russia. The share of renewables remains negligibly small. However, Russian environmental NGOs cannot help but note the positive side of the diversification. NGOs have emphasized it throughout the years, that the special position of energy monopolies on our market along with subsidies for the traditional energy sector play a negative role for the economy as a whole, while having a detrimental effect on the environment.