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Creating a carbon-free zone in Siberia: how to replace the northern supply of renewable energy - EastRussia | Opinions

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"RosSolnce" and "RosVeter" - it's time to think about the creation of two new state corporations

How to replace the northern supply with renewable energy

"RosSolnce" and "RosVeter" - it's time to think about the creation of two new state corporations

Alexander Kolotov

The Russian coordinator of the international environmental coalition "Rivers without Borders"
The idea of ​​creating a carbon-free zone in Eastern Siberia needs further development and detailed discussion, said this week, Deputy Prime Minister - presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev.

So he reacted to the publication in the newspaper Kommersant, which said that the idea of ​​turning Eastern Siberia into a non-carbon zone is closed and withdrawn from discussion, and the government will no longer discuss plans for "decarbonization" or introducing carbon payments. The idea at the time was expressed by Trutnev, suggesting the introduction of a carbon tax or the creation of a carbon market in the region, the use of tax incentives and subsidies (including the use of the best available technologies), the development of renewable energy sources and the growth of planted forests. Moreover, in December Russia signed the Paris Agreement on Climate, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol.

The carbon-free future of Eastern Siberia was criticized by opponents of the Paris climate agreement, including the Institute for Natural Monopolies, but especially by large coal companies and thermal power engineering. On the Internet, even a project entitled "The Right to Coal" was created, the governor of Kuzbass, Aman Tuleyev, actively said that he would not allow ruining the coal industry. And analysts poured out figures proving that the introduction of a carbon tax is a direct way to the degradation of the Russian economy.

However, within the framework of the ratification of the Paris Agreement, measures will be developed to encourage the transition to low-carbon technologies in Russia as a whole, and not just in Eastern Siberia. Specialists also believe that at this stage it is necessary not to fight with coal miners, whose voice still sounds louder, but will focus on developing a low-carbon development strategy for the whole of Russia. In the environment of ecologists, however, there are more radical proposals. One of them with EastRussia was shared by the Russian coordinator of the ecological coalition "Rivers without Borders" Alexander Kolotov.

- The other day the government finally put on the shelf a project to create the first "carbon free zone" in the territory of Eastern Siberia in Russia. To this fact, even environmentalists reacted differently: some believe that the refusal to create a carbon free zone is a departure from the principles of the recent Paris climate agreement, while others are glad that the project of replacing Siberian thermal power plants with new hydro and nuclear plants did not take place .

But does the failure of the "carless" East Siberia mean the funeral of the very concept of a carbon free zone? I hope no. As a pilot region, I would suggest taking any territory of northern delivery - for example, Evenkia or Yakutia. Annually from the mainland there goes a colossal amount of diesel fuel and coal for power generation. To replace these volumes with renewable energy sources (RES), turning northern territories into carbonless (or low-carbon) zones is a very real and largely political task, rather than a technological one.



The potential of renewable energy in the Far North is huge. Economic feasibility also leaves no doubt - at the expense of fuel economy from the northern delivery solar and wind stations pay off on average for ten years. But where is the turn of investors willing to invest in renewable energy in the territories of the northern delivery? She is not. In the same Yakutia, solar power plants are built by their own company, Sakhaenergo, and so far they are in the category of "experimental". The small hydroelectric station in Evenkiya, planned by Nord Hydro, remains a project on paper, and there is no question about building wind power stations that are in demand there.

The causes of the current sad state of affairs with the development of renewable energy in the Far North are many. There is an extreme lack of state support, and strong resistance from fuel suppliers for northern delivery and local generating companies. But it is also curious that among those who benefit from maintaining the existing status quo with northern deliveries and actually refusing to develop RES, exactly the same companies that would receive the greatest benefit when turning Eastern Siberia into a "carbon free zone".

RusHydro, for example, is planning a large-scale development of the hydro potential of the rivers of Yakutia before 2020: building a new Cancun hydroelectric station at 1000 MW plus an expansion of the Svetlinskaya hydroelectric station to 90 MW. And in the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM they are developing a special low-power nuclear reactor (from 1 to 300 MW) for arctic conditions - an obvious replacement of renewable energy sources for the territories of the Far North.

A recently adopted new territorial planning scheme of the Russian Federation in the field of energy also runs counter to global trends. For example, in three years, the power of global wind power has grown by 52% and in 2015, the power of all power plants in Russia has doubled. And in the new Russian terplaning scheme, the capacity of all planned wind farms has decreased from 6,06 GW in 2013 to 4,6 GW in 2016. But with wind energy still, you can say, lucky. Solar power in the new government scheme not at all.

The conclusion is simple: if in the current situation we want to create a "carbon-free zone" in the territories of the northern delivery, then we need first and foremost a strong lobbying potential that is not inferior in its power to the potential of lobbyists from RusHydro, Rosatom and northern generating companies. But who has this potential now? It’s time to think about creating two new state corporations - RosSolntse and RosVeter. If in today's Russia the competition has shifted from the market square to the corridors of power - so let's give a chance to renewable energy sources and there stand up for ourselves. Otherwise, the monopoly of the traditional “imported” and inefficient northern energy cannot be broken.