Wind energy is one of the most studied and widely used alternative energies in different countries of the world. Its percentage share in global electricity production in 2021 was 6.6%. The same indicator in Russia for the same year stopped at 0.32%, which is 20 times less.
In the Russian Federation, the situation and prospects for wind energy are largely determined by the support of government authorities and market incentives. But, unlike European countries, as the statistics presented above show, the domestic industry lags behind both quantitatively and technologically.
Currently, about 35 wind farms are operating in our country. In 2021, they managed to produce 3,622 million kWh. The greatest prospects for wind energy in the Russian Federation exist in the steppe regions of the country (Kalmykia, Stavropol Territory, Crimea, Astrakhan and Rostov regions), in areas where the construction of nuclear power plants and additional hydropower plants is simply not possible. It is in these subjects that the lion’s share of domestic wind farms is located.
When considering the future prospects for the development of this type of power plants in Russia, it is necessary to understand all the risk factors and disadvantages that may be encountered during the construction of new wind farms in the country. Among them are the following:
1) the development of industry is strongly hampered by the traditional energy complex that has already formed and is functioning quite efficiently. It is supported by large pools of resources and lobbying of its interests by business representatives. In this situation, even the potential opportunities for financial savings do not stimulate wind energy in Russia as much as in the same European countries;
2) last year, as a result of sanctions, a ban was adopted on the export of components for wind turbines to the Russian Federation. Most of the technical solutions related to the conversion of wind energy, our companies have received from large Western companies. Thus, at the moment, organizations that have assumed legal obligations for the construction of wind farms have found themselves in a rather difficult situation, all processes for commissioning wind farms are hampered. In the near future, we can expect the transformation of logistics routes and the development of new markets for the purchase of products that have fallen under sanctions;
3) another important factor that does not allow interested players in the energy market to make significant investments in the industry is the high risks that companies can face when operating wind farms. The instability of such a power source creates additional problems when using this direction on an industrial scale;
4) in our country, many have formed misconceptions about the capabilities of wind turbines. Often people view wind energy as an “expensive toy” that is not capable of delivering real economic results;
5) it is also necessary to pay attention to a certain delay of electrical equipment used in wind farms in Russia. Domestic components are an order of magnitude lower in quality than their foreign counterparts, making this industry extremely dependent on imports.
Despite all the difficulties of developing this type of energy, it is assumed that the total capacity of wind farms on the WECM in Russia can reach 23.3 GW by 2030. Such results would be enough to cover about 10% of the country’s energy supply and create around 50,000 jobs to maintain the wind farm infrastructure (according to the WWEA). Such prospects indicate that this type of energy has certain advantages, which will be discussed below:
1) the operation of wind farms significantly reduces the environmental damage that traditional energy sources of equivalent capacity could cause to the environment;
2) Russia is a very large country, many colonies are located in hard-to-reach areas. It is quite problematic to transport electricity, often it is necessary to pull power lines over hundreds of kilometers in order to provide residents of remote villages and villages with the necessary resources. In this situation, the optimal solution is the construction of small wind farms that would produce electricity not on an industrial scale, but for the personal needs of the population;
3) construction availability. This is a conditional factor, but if we compare the implementation of such generators with the same traditional stations, the savings will be significant. Also, wind farms cannot be classified as capital construction projects. The scale of the work required for the commissioning of such facilities cannot be compared to the construction of the same hydroelectric power stations.
If we try to summarize the prospects for the development of wind farms in Russia, it should be noted that wind farms in our country can have quite high capacity indicators, and there are prerequisites for further increasing productivity and build new facilities of this type. However, at present, the share of wind energy in the overall energy system of the Russian Federation is extremely insignificant, despite all the statements of officials and representatives of the energy complex about the great importance and usefulness of alternative energy sources.
In addition, the development of the industry is hampered by a number of climatic and geographical restrictions that lead to higher costs and complexity of using wind energy in Russia, but at the same time, for some regions of our country, wind energy can become almost the only possible option to solve the problems associated with a shortage of electricity.
Author: Viktor Anufriev
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