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Crimea needs 3-5 years, USD 5 bn to achieve energy self-sufficiency - minister

April 03, 2014, 23:47 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, April 03, /ITAR-TASS/. Crimea will need 3-5 years and almost 5 billion U.S. dollars to achieve energy self-sufficiency, parliament-appointed Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan said.

“This is a very complex issue. Crimea is dependent in terms of energy, of course. The autonomy depends on the Ukrainian energy system by 90 percent, and if the ties are broken, the peninsula will face serious energy problems,” he told the Government Courier on Thursday, April 3.

He noted that the question of energy self-sufficiency “will be settled after the adoption of the law on temporarily occupied territories”.

The construction of new power generation capacities for Crimea will cost about 90-100 billion roubles, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week.

“On the average, we think that it will cost 1,500-2,000 U.S. dollars to build one kW of generation capacities. So 1,320 MW may cost 90-100 billion roubles at the current exchange rate,” the minister said.

He said natural gas for power generation in Crimea might come from the South Stream gas pipeline to pass by along the Black Sea bottom.

“These will most likely be power plants working on the gas which is extracted here in Crimea and the gas which can be taken from South Stream,” he said.

Crimea’s gas producing company Chernomorneftegaz plans to extract over two billion cubic metres of gas in 2014, which is 15 percent more than the peninsula needs, the CrimeaInform news agency said.

In 2013, Crimea consumed 1.65 bmc of gas, which matched Chernomorneftegaz’ production volumes.

Crimea needs to develop traditional energy production, not build a nuclear power plant, Pavel Ipatov, Deputy Director-General of the Rosenergoatom Company, told ITAR-TASS.

“There are no ready projects for building nuclear power plants there and it would be premature to speak about that now. I would even say pointless,” he said.

Ipatov recalled that in Soviet times there had been a project to build two 1,000 MW nuclear units in Crimea. The first unit was almost 90 percent finished and things went so far that even nuclear fuel was brought in so that the reactor could start operating at in the early 1990s. “However, now this site is in such condition that it cannot be restored. We have gone far ahead from the technologies that existed in the 1960s when the station was designed… and sometimes it is much more economically justified to build a new project than restore an old one,” Ipatov said.

“The approaches and solutions used in modern projects are more progressive in terms of security and cost efficiency. Therefore there should be a very serious argument in order to consider building a nuclear power plant in Crimea today,” he said.

In his opinion, Crimea should focus on developing alternative energy generation using the power of wind and sun. “This was done in Soviet times too, and one of the first solar power stations was operated in Crimea,” he said and observed at the same time that the cost of such generation would be dozens of times higher than that of traditional forms, which makes “their commercial construction unlikely”.

Ipatov believes that traditional power plants will most likely be built instead. “We will see by the end of this year what kind of decisions will be made to improve power supply in Crimea,” he added.

Crimea may join Russia’s integrated energy system, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a government meeting, which was held in Simferopol on March 31 and focused on the socioeconomic development of Crimea and Sevastopol.

“It is vitally important to ensure reliable and independent electricity supplies to the whole of Crimea and supply fuel to the power industry. One option is for Crimea to join the Russian integrated energy system across the Kerch Strait or to build its own generation capacities,” Medvedev said, adding that both options would be considered.

“In the event of any critical situation we can always provide alternative sources of power supply, primarily for socially important facilities,” he said, referring to mobile gas turbine power plants and other options.

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