Russia and Japan Collaborate on Wind Energy Innovation in the Far East

WINPRO Company of Japan and scientists from the Far East Federal University (FEFU) of Russia started an initiative to create new types of wind power plants adapted to work at low temperatures in the regions of the Far East.

The representatives of the project claim that in the future these turbines may be used not only in the eastern parts of Russia, but also in northern countries of Europe and other regions of the world where climate conditions are similar.

The research initiative launched at the beginning of 2014 with the aim to create small- and medium-sized wind power plants (small plants will be between 0.5 and 2 MW; medium between 2 and 6 MW). Though not a lot of information has been released about the technology, according to it will be based on known site data and a special coating that will provide the low-temperature resistance. The proposed technologies are able to generate electricity even at low wind speeds from 1 m/sec with an air temperature below -10 degrees Celsius. The project should also have low levels of noise and vibration.

WINPRO intends to launch the technology in Primorsky Krai, which is located at the most eastern part of Russia that borders China, within the next few years. The representatives of FEFU are hopeful that the project will improve the energy situation in the Russian Far East.

“Russian Far Eastern regions are rich with minerals, but their development requires appropriate power base. Construction of electricity transmission lines over long distances in the conditions of permafrost, as well as construction of oil and gas pipelines requires large expenditures,” said the head of FEFU Sergei Ivanets. “The small wind power stations will be very effective alternative. The use of wind, solar and other alternative sources of energy could radically change the lives of thousands isolated settlements in the region.”

According to the representatives of WINPRO, the company already produces hybrid power generators, combining wind and solar generators with the use of lithium batteries. “Company’s cooperation with FEFU can open opportunities for the improvement of existing technologies and development of new technologies in the area of biomass energy and fuel cells,” according to the representative of the company.

However, the demand for wind power in Russia is limited, so WINPRO is considering the launching of export supplies of these stations when they will be designed and the production will be started to the countries of the Eastern and Northern Europe. 

Far East Eager to Develop Renewable Energy 

The new project may contribute to the implementation of the program for the alternative energy development on the Russian Far East. The program involves seven offshore regions including Chukotka Autonomous Region, Magadan Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast, Primorsk Krai, Khabarovsky Krai and Chukotka Region and Republic of Yakutia.

The alternative energy program provides that during 2014-2018 in these regions should be constructed and launched about 60 wind energy plants and 40 solar power plants. The program provides the state funding of RUB 3 billion (US$ 100 million). The half of this money should go to the construction of offshore wind power stations.

According to Alexei Kaplun, Deputy General Director of RAO Energy System of East, currently in the Russian Far East it is operation about 500 diesel power plants which annually consume about 254,000 tonnes of diesel and produce 640 MV for the total cost RUB 9 billion (US$300 million). The construction of solar and wind power stations will let the produce from alternative sources 60 MW by 2016 and 120 MW by 2020.

“For many of our towns due to the logistics issues the cost of diesel is extremely high. Given this fact the producing of energy from alternative sources like solar, wind, biomass etc can significantly improve the reliability of energy supply by reducing dependence on imported fuel” explained Alexei Kaplun.

“Today the renewable energy for the Russian Far East, in many cases, cost less than energy from traditional sources. Application of standard and scalable solutions, as well as increasing of the number of projects can reduce the capital cost of construction of such facilities. Today the cost of energy from solar station in some settlements of Yakutia is US$ 2.8-3.2 per Watt. In future this cost can be reduced by 10-15 percent. Today, the return of projects in the area of alternate energy in isolated areas is 7-10 years,” he added.

In addition experts predict that the fast development of the segment can take place during 2020-2030 with the output of these stations should rise to 350 MW, thus covering about the third of energy needs of the region by this time. About 60 percent of this energy account for wind stations, 35 percent for solar stations and 5 percent for other sources. The approximate amount of funding according to Alexei Kaplun is RUB 10 billion (US$ 330 million). 

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Vladislav Vorotnikov is the Russian journalist and expert in the area of the Renewable Energy. He is working in this area since 2004, firstly with the number of Russian magazines including “Renewable Energy Sources” and than with the European magazines and web-sites, in particular PV-magazine. He studied in the Voronezh State University of Russia in the journalists’ faculty and currently he is basing in Moscow. He is writing about the Renewable Energy not only of Russia, but also of the other countries of the pos Soviet Union space: Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan etc.

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