Russia’s Energy Strategy
Russia’s Energy Strategy
Introduction to the current Russian energy strategy
The current energy strategy of the Russian Federation is designed to cover the period 2010-2030. It was inaugurated on November 13, 2009 through Decree N°1715-r of the Government of the Russian Federation (Proedrou, 2018). Key priorities of this energy strategy include improved efficiency, sustainable development, reducing energy impacts on the environment and technological development. Oil and gas account for over 30% Russia’s GDP and over 60% of her exports. The country also has a hydrocarbon potential with capacity to meet the country’s energy demands for the next 30 years. Russia’s economy largely depends on the export of natural resources such as oil and gas (Sharples, 2013). Russia’s biggest energy producing company, Gazprom, produces over 94% of the country’s natural gas. Russia mainly exports its natural gas to Europe. Germany is the largest natural gas importer from Russia.
Russia also depends on hydropower for its energy production. About 21% of Russia’s electricity production comes from hydroelectric power plants. The country has over 100 hydropower plants and over 35GW of installed capacity (Favorskii, et al., 2016). RusHydro Company in Russia is the world’s second largest hydroelectric power producer. 852 TWh of Russia’s 2,295 TWh theoretical hydro resources per year has been found to be economically feasible. A big percentage of this resource is found in the Far East and Siberia. The country is considered to be among the top 5 world’s largest hydroelectric powerhouses.
Russia’s nuclear power accounts for 15.7% of the country’s total energy output. It also accounts for 5.4% of the world’s nuclear production (Selei, et al., 2017). Russia has installed approximately 21,244MW of nuclear reactors capacity. The country is also planning to increase the number of commercial reactors tremendously. Atomenergoprom is the country’s 100% state-owned holding company for all civil nuclear activities.
Proposed future energy strategy
Proposed energy mix
The proposed energy mix will cover natural gas, nuclear and hydropower. The proposed objective is to reduce the country’s energy intensity of the economy to promote socio-economic development. This proposed strategy recommends the use of science-intensive energy production and high technology industrial energy consumption (Batenin et al., 2014). For natural gas, the strategic objective should be to develop an efficient, uninterrupted and stable supply of gas to satisfy both domestic and international demand. Owing to the growing production of gas and the need to transport it to various parts of Russia’s European market, the focus should now be the construction of gas pipelines to connect Russia to more European countries (Favorskii et al., 2015). Russia should also focus on the development of modern technology for the production and transportation of liquefied gas. In addition, the domestic market requires gasification. Owing to the availability of the commodity in the country, there should be increased use of gas in Russian industries instead of such dirty energy as coal. There should also be a continued geological exploration to discover more gas deposits in Russia.
Regarding hydroelectric power, electricity demand in both the Russian domestic market and the European market continue to rise. More hydropower plants need to be constructed at Nizhneangarsk, Nizhneeniseisk, Vitimsk, and South-Yakutia complexes to facilitate the production of more hydroelectric power (Mitrova et al., 2016). Electricity that will be generated from hydroelectric power should be transmitted to the Russian domestic, regional and international markets. This calls for additional development of power transmission infrastructure to transmit this additional hydroelectric power that will be generated from these hydropower plants.
Regarding nuclear energy, certain aspects of this form of energy need to be streamlined. These aspects are the environmental safety of nuclear power plants, fuel and energy base of the nuclear plants, and the scientific management of the nuclear plants in a manner that ensures environmental and economic sustainability (Lochner, 2011). Russia has several deposits of crucial elements required for the production of nuclear energy. More nuclear power plants equipped with fast-neutron reactors and other relevant facilities need to be constructed in a manner that takes care of the environment and international requirements for nuclear production. This calls for more exploration to discover more uranium deposits in the country to supplement the existing deposits. Most importantly, there is need to continue developing modern technology that is efficient enough to facilitate the production of clean nuclear energy with little adverse impact on the environment (Richter & Holz, 2015). Such technology should be one that ensures efficiency and competitiveness in nuclear energy production, besides facilitating the reduction of heavy capital investments at the time of production. Increased production of clean nuclear energy will supplement the other energy forms such as hydropower and natural gas.
Economic viability of the proposed strategy
More natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear power plants will be constructed as a result of this strategy. There is an increased demand for power both in Russia and in Russia’s European market. With increased power generation plants, more energy will be produced to meet this demand. The capital investment that will be made as a result of this strategy is worthwhile because the returns are great (Mitrova et al., 2016). Russia will be able to meet her domestic power demands and at the same time export the surplus power that has been produced as a result of this strategy. For this reason, the strategy is economically viable.
Increased nuclear power generation can be harmful to the environment, if modern technology is not used to reduce this impact. For Russia to generate more nuclear power by developing more nuclear plants, research has to be carried out to determine the impact that such plants will have on the environment. Modern technology has to be used in nuclear power generation (Richter & Holz, 2015). Russia must also adhere to international standards for generation of nuclear power because increased interaction with nuclear energy can be harmful to the world, considering the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The nuclear plants should only be used for the production of energy and not weapons.
Social and political dimensions
This strategy involves the development of more energy in Russia in the form of natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower. Few social and political issues have been raised regarding natural gas and hydropower (Batenin et al., 2014). However, nuclear energy raises several global concerns because it threatens the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the name of useful nuclear energy. Considering the dangers that nuclear weapons pose to the world, increased construction of nuclear plants can cause suspicion. Russia has to ascertain that the plants adhere to global nuclear laws and standards.