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Expert says renewable energy is important for Russian Arctic

September 18, 20:51 UTC+3 HELSINKI

Russia plans to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the country's energy balance

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HELSINKI, September 18. /TASS/. Renewable energy sources may be an important resource of energy supplies to distanced villages in the Russian Arctic regions, head of the Climate and Energy program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Alexei Kokorin said at the three-day Arctic Energy Summit, which opened on Monday in Finland's capital. The event features dozens politicians, businesses, and experts from across the world.

"It is important to say that the so-called small energy - very small systems - develop there [in the Extreme North] rather successfully, from Murmansk to Kamchatka," he said. "To leave alone the fact that [Russian biggest gas producer] Gazprom and other companies have supplied already a few hundreds of those systems, for example, to the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. At the same time, as for the big energy, where we speak about hundreds of kilowatts or more, the story is much more complicated."

Adapting to severe conditions

According to him, the big systems, like, for example, wind generators, "must endure low temperatures and stormy winds," and big solar panels - snow and dust.

"As for the wind energy, we should realize the emerging major technical problems, where the wind may grow to 40-50 meters per second and temperatures are freezing; and here we actually are still at the stage of gaining the experience," the expert said adding in Russia's three cities - Anadyr, Tiksi and Labytnangi - there are three wind stations of a few generators each. "If for three years they manage to work reliably and stably, it would be very good experience, which could be repeated in other places."

"We all can remember a wind generator in Tiksi, but it failed, it could not work there, and the same happened in Anadyr - I mean, the failures are very numerous. Now, we are at the stage of identifying how practically it may be possible to get technically adapted to severe conditions there," the expert said.

As for the solar energy, he continued, Yakutia is the leader. "There the sun potential is the biggest, and they have made good progress."

Russia is unlikely to be able to use experience of other countries in building equipment for generation of wind and solar energy in the complicated conditions of the Extreme North due to the difference in climate conditions. "The conditions along Alaska's shores are not beaches either, but on the other hand they actually to not have experience there, thus, anyway from the technical point of view we must act on our own," he said, giving the example of cooperation between the Energy Systems of East and Japanese companies on wind energy systems, or the example of the private-public partnership in Yakutia.

Depending on deliveries of goods for winter

The expert is confident the growing demand in more active use of renewable energy depends on the phenomenon of the climate change.

"For example, November in Yakutia over 40 years became warmer by about 5-7 degrees," he said. "This means that delivering fuel in November - when winter roads get frozen, when the roads are along rivers - on the ice - is getting more complicated, and here the main driver, which all agree about, is cutting the risks of the 'northern supplies' - accidents with vehicles carrying fuel, or even accidents with people. If, noting this risk, the renewable energy develops especially in the far-away villages, then we shall reduce this risk, and this would be a great step forward."

Here, he continued, "if we speak about the Arctic, in development of the renewable energy there is no rushing for the quantity - it is bound to be not big."

"First of all, we are speaking about far-away villages, which depend on the 'winter deliveries' and where fuel supplies are most risky," he said.

Building up share of renewable sources

In July, Russia's presidential envoy on nature, ecology and transport Sergei Ivanov told a forum in Helsinki that Russia's objective is to increase the share of renewable energy source in the country's energy balance during the coming five years. This share currently makes about 1.5%, but in five years it should approach five percent.

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