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Chukotka’s heat power plant is upgraded for gas fuel

The heat energy sector in Russia’s easternmost region begins using natural gas as fuel

MOSCOW, August 8. /TASS/. The heat energy sector in Russia’s easternmost region begins using natural gas as fuel. One of the boilers at the Anadyr heat power plant is using gas. The locals can see economic, technical and ecology-related results. The local government plans the power plant’s second boiler would be adjusted to the gas fuel within two years. TASS tells about how the new fuel changes life in the region.

Hidden energy potential

The Anadyr heat power plant’s first part (one boiler and one turbine) went operational on December 22, 1986. The plant is built on the permafrost, the equipment has not been used at full capacity, though it could produce energy for 50,000 people - this is exactly Chukotka’s population. The project to transport electric energy to facilities outside the Anadyr energy hub was made at the time the power plant began working.

The plant’s projected capacity was up to 50 Mega Watts. Those are two turbines 25 Mega Watts each and an emergency gas-engine electric plant of 6 Mega Watts - a source of energy in emergency situations. The region also has a diesel power plant of 18 Mega Watts. Compare - the maximum consumption for Anadyr together with the Ugolnye Kopi settlement is 25 Mega Watts in the peak season - in winter.

Record-quick adjustment to gas fuel

Russia’s hydroelectricity company, RusHydro, joined the process of the plant’s upgrading. The company has a rich experience in such projects in the Far East. For Chukotka’s energy sector, the project was a new task. Experts say, the project will pay off within eight years, or - based on the current coal rates and their dynamics - even earlier.

In May, 2017, the regional government signed an agreement with two energy companies, attracted an investment loan, and works to upgrade one of the boilers for using gas began. It took about nine months to see the first gas supplies come in (March 14, 2018 - TASS), which is record quick for Chukotka. The works’ cost will be 630 million rubles ($9.7 million).

"We made a complicated decision to make the renovation during the heating season," Director General of the local energy company, Chukotenergo, Andrei Telegin told TASS. "At first, the project’s implementation was scheduled for a longer term, but this made it more expensive."

"As we have analyzed the generating equipment, the decision was to renovate one boiler during the heating season, which would not affect smooth energy supplies," he continued. "Thus, we have one coal boiler, the diesel station and a necessary reserve; now we are finalizing the equipment’s installation and trials."

The regional government has offered a 20% discount for the gas price; the unused funds will remain in the tariff, and this delta will be used to pay back the investment loan.

The support and attention from the federal authorities meant reliable guarantees to the counterparts, who saw the risks were very low. The necessary equipment and construction materials were delivered in time, despite the complicated northern logistics. Banks participated in a tender, and thus the local energy company was offered good financial conditions.

Only one gas deposit - Zapadno-Ozernoye - has been working in Chukotka since 2003. It is some 70km from Anadyr.

Using gas means economy and ecology

According to Andrei Telegin, use of gas gives a few positive effects. The growing gas production lowers the gas price, gas becomes more affordable, which influences the economy. Using gas is much more comfortable for the energy sector, as the equipment is working more effectively, it wears out less than from using coal, he said.

As for the ecology aspect, the emissions are reducing by dozens of times. When the power plant used coal, people said their houses’ window sills were covered with soot. Now, they say, the air is much cleaner.

The Anadyr heat power plant will keep coal as a reserve fuel, and gas would be the main fuel. As the second boiler is upgraded to use gas, the gas consumption in the region will grow by another 7-8 million cubic meters.

"We plan this project for 2019-2020," the director general said. "The second stage is practically half the price, as the respective infrastructures would be ready by then, the gas connections would be in place, the technology is clear."

"When we have two gas boilers, it would be much quicker for us to switch between them - unlike a situation when one boiler is fueled with gas and the other - with coal," he continued. "In using coal, we need to have a big complex - a storage, special storage conditions, and besides the energy system has to pay for expenses of coal transportation across the Anadyr Firth."

Beginning from 2018, the Anadyr power plant’s fuel structure will be 70% to 30% in favor of gas. Within eight years, the region will save on equipment renovation, diesel, ecology payments and ash removal more than 112 million rubles ($1.7 million). By using the new fuel, the plant will save 579.5 million rubles ($8.9 million).

Plans for future

With the growing energy potential, the regional energy company expects new clients, like, for example, companies working in extraction of natural resources. In addition to that, Anadyr is forming an industrial park, where residents would become clients of the Anadyr heat power plant.

Another project, which involves both the energy sector and the regional government, is to change the power plant’s look and to take down the unused chimney.