The Russian Federation (Russia)
The first Russian hydropower plant was built in Altai on the Berezovka River in 1882. It was a four-turbine 180 kW plant, generating electricity for the bilge pumps at the Zyryanovsky Mine. The plant was closed down in 1932 due to wear and tear, having been in operation for 50 years.
Russia’s hydro resource base is enormous—the gross theoretical potential is some 2,500 TWh per year, of which 852 TWh is regarded as economically feasible (34.1 %). The bulk of the Federation’s potential is in its Asian regions (Siberia and the Far East) where the government has plans to build several hydropower plants.
The hydropower sector of the country is mainly supported by financial incentives and policies introduced by the government.
Hydropower Installed Capacity
The hydropower capacity installed in the country reached 49.7 GW. Russia hydro- power generation represents 4.88 % of the world’s electricity generated using this type of energy source. Within Eurasia, the generation of electricity using hydro- power plants represents 66.79 % of the total. In the past ten years, the electricity generated by hydropower plants grows in six of them.
The largest hydropower plant currently under construction in the Russian Federation is the 3,000 MW plant at Bogucchany on the Angara River in Southeast Siberia. Major hydropower developments are under consideration for the Volga- Kama cascade (expanding capacity by 2,010 MW) and for up to seven hydropower plants on the Timpton River in South Yakutia (with a total installed capac- ity of 9,000 MW). The first plant to be built under the latter scheme would be Kankunskaya (1,600 MW).
Russia is adopting additional measures with the aim of increasing the use of renewable energy source for the generation of electricity. In May 2013, the government approved a number of legislative acts supporting investment into the renewable sector. The first renewable plan covers the period until 2020. By then, the government plans to build 6 GW of renewable generation, out of which 13 % will be small hydropower plants. However, while the first annual auction of renew- able projects to be launched between 2014 and 2017 took place on September 2013, no bids were registered for small hydropower projects.
With close to US$3 billion expected to be injected into the market through the end of the decade, Russia’s hydropower sector should be an expanding one. The market for hydropower is a major source of electricity generation in Russia, despite the fact that the country has abundant natural energy resources such as natural gas, coal, and oil. As the fifth largest producer of renewable energy in the world, the renewable energy industry in Russia is mostly represented by hydropower and geo- thermal energy. These are the country’s most developed alternative energy sources.
Russia has 102 hydropower plants with capacities of over 100 MW each, making it fifth in the world for hydropower production. It is also second in the world for hydropower potential, although only 21 % of this potential is developed.
Small hydropower plants that were widely utilized during the Soviet Union times and were abandoned after the breakup of this country in the 1990s, are an alternative to the fossil fuel that supplies electricity to remote regions in Russia. Replacement of traditional resourced by small hydropower plants in such regions will make it possible to increase their energy security and to decrease expenses of the federal budget. Small hydroelectric plants play a significant role for remote regions experiencing energy shortages that occupy 40 % of the territory of the country and will allow the creation of regional generating capacities and the reduction of the electric power deficit in the region.
In Russia, small hydropower plants are non-dam power plants with the capacity of not more than 30 MW and the capacity of one hydraulic unit less than 10 MW. The gross potential of the small hydropower generation in Russia has been estimated at 1,282.32 million kWh per year. The leaders are the Siberian and Far East Federal districts: 436.06 million kWh per year and 451.70 million kWh per year, respectively. The technical potential is 371.83 million kWh per year and the economic potential 205.09 million kWh per year.
The number of small hydropower plants operating all over Russia is estimated to be from 60–70 to 200–300 plants. The biggest functioning hydropower plants include Gizeldonskaya hydroelectric plant on the Gizeldon River in the Republic of North Osetia, with the capacity of 22.9 MW, which is the hydropower plant with the highest pressure in Russia (the average annual output is 56.9 million kWh); Gergebilskaya hydroelectric plant on the Karakoisu River in the Republic of Dagestan, with the capacity of 17.8 MWh (the average annual output is 61.5 million kWh).
The small hydropower plants that are planned to be commissioned include objects with 24 MW capacity:
• Segozerskaya hydroelectric plant on the dam of the Segozersky hydroengineer- ing complex of the Republic of Karelia;
• Adyr-Su hydroelectric plant on the Adyr-Su River in Elbrus region, Republic of
• Chibitskaya hydroelectric plant in the lower course of the Chuya River, Ulagansky region, Republic of Altai.
Hydropower Electricity Generation
The electricity sector in Russia is characterized by an aging thermal power plant fleet, high subsidy levels, and low tariffs, which make it difficult for private sec- tor companies to operate competitively. Major sector reorganization, during the last decade, was supposed to usher in a fully open market for electricity. While some of these reforms have been successful, others remain incomplete, and the sector has been described as a regulated free market. The country needs to replace up to 100 GW of thermal capacity by the end of the decade, as well as building new capacity to meet growing demand. The transmission system needs expanding too, with large regions still not served by the unified grid. However, foreign private sector investment in the industry has been limited, with both the political and the investment conditions—making investors wary. This means that without significant change most investment will have to come from within Russia, particularly after the adoption of economic sanctions by the EU and the USA against the country as a result of its involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Attempts are underway to increase tariffs to reflect market costs, but this reform could take the rest of the decade to complete. There are significant opportunities in Russia, but these are currently tempered by both the financial limitations and a perceived lack of transparency.
The role of the different energy sources used in Russia for the generation of electricity varies according to the region, with Siberia relying on hydropower plants (47 % of capacity), the Northeast on nuclear generation (27 %), and the Urals almost exclusively on thermal generation (94 % of installed capacity) (SO 2010).
Hydropower generation in 2011 was approximately 180 TWh, represented 21 % of the economic potential, and accounted for about 19 % of total electricity generated in that year. In 2012, hydropower accounted for around 19.98 % of the total power generation mix and 99.78 % of the total renewable electricity generation mix in the country.
The evolution of the generation of electricity in Russia using hydropower plants during the period 2008–2012 is shown in Fig. 3.32.
According to Fig. 3.32, the use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity in Russia during the period 2008–2014 decreased 1.5 %. However, during the period 2008–2009, the use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity increased 5.7 %, while during the period 2009–2012 decreased 6.9 %. It is expected that the use of hydropower plants for the generation of electricity in Russia will increase during the coming years as a result of the additional measures adopted by the government in order to increase the participation of renewable energy sources in the country energy mix.