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Russia to put forward alternatives to Mongolian HPP project in October — minister

September 08, 2017, 7:54 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK

Mongolia plans to build hydroelectric power chain on the Selenga River, the main tributary of Lake Baikal

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VLADIVOSTOK, September 8. /TASS/. At a meeting of a Russian-Mongolian working group in October, Russia will put forward a number of alternatives to Mongolia’s project to build a hydroelectric power plant (HPP) on a river that feeds the world-famous Lake Baikal, Russia’s natural resources minister told TASS on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

"The intergovernmental commission’s agenda will definitely include the Selenga HPP issue," Sergei Donskoy said. "Considering the concerns of our Mongolian neighbors regarding electric power deficit, we are ready to suggest them a number of alternatives."

"A working group on Selenga has been formed, and it will convene in early October in Ulan Bator, prior to the intergovernmental committee’s meeting due in late October," the minister added.

According to Donskoi, the initiatives include the modernization of the existing and the construction of new power transmission lines to supply electricity to Mongolia and its transit to China. In this case, the minister said, it will supply Mongolia with power that would be even cheaper than the electricity generated by the HPP.

Among other alternatives, suggested by Donskoi, is the construction of advanced coal-powered thermal power stations and the use of renewable energy sources.

"There are other variants that involve the construction of power generating facilities there. A lot of clean coal technologies are available at the moment, and Mongolia may use its rich coal reserves for the purpose. There is also an option to use alternative energy sources, including solar power. We have our own solar panel production and we can provide them with high-quality solar power generation facilities. Our companies are interested in implementing all these projects," Donskoi said.

"However, in my opinion, the big energy ring is the most realistic project. The thing is that Mongolia is currently launches production at new coal fields. Besides, they are modernizing a railway along which power transmission lines may be laid. Besides, we have excessive power generation capacities in the Far East," the minister added.

The construction of hydroelectric power chain on the Selenga River, the main tributary of Lake Baikal, and the rivers flowing into Selenga is aimed to help Mongolia solve the problem of energy deficit. But scientists fear that the project may negatively affect the ecosystem of Baikal and Selenga. They also drew attention to seismic danger of the territory where the power stations may be built.

Earlier, First Deputy Minister of Energy Alexei Teksler told reporters that his ministry considers it reasonable to build electric transmission lines to Mongolia instead of hydroelectric power stations. He noted that the construction of the power transmission line will cost 3.5 times cheaper per MW/h, in comparison with the cost of construction of a new power generation facility.

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