Renewable energy investment will pay off faster

An important discussion took place during the 2020 Gaidar Forum – Development of Renewable Energy in Russia: First Results and Outlook until 2035. The participants focused on key trends in the global power generation.

The session was moderated by Tatyana Lanshina, Senior Research Fellow at RANEPA Center for Economic Modeling of Energy and Environment. Senior Managing Director at Rusnano Andrei Pokhozhayev opened the discussion by saying that the Russian government has decided to extend the renewable energy sources (RES) development program. He cited the key technology trends in the energy industry such as greater capacity of wind turbines, the use of lightweight high-strength materials, and advanced control systems. The speaker also highlighted the trends specific to the solar energy: greater efficiency, innovative materials, lower production cost of solar cells, innovative conductors, and solar panel electricity programs.

Olga Ukhanova, Senior Expert at Russia Renewable Energy Development Association, noted that the main result of the past five years of the energy support program’s development was the signal to the market that the program needs to be extended. The main sources for the development of renewable energy in Russia are investors who want a return on their capital and manufacturers who want to sell their equipment. The participants also raised the issue of the so called Green Finance, which implies attracting banks and companies as investors in RES projects, giving an impetus to development.

Andrei Kulakov, Founder of the Goal Number Seven Association of Energy Market Players, outlined renewable energy development targets for Russia for the next decade. In his opinion, technology is a priority, while funds invested in technology development should be spent in larger amounts. Furthermore, an energy transition should occur, reducing natural gas consumption. That should be enabled by private consumers installing solar panels on the roofs of their houses.

Rector of the Ulyanovsk Technical University Nadezhda Yarushkina proposed involving Russian universities in addressing renewable energy problems. However, Andrei Kulakov said, “not a single Russian institute has responded positively to applications for these projects,” adding that renewable energy is more about making marketable products than about R&D.

Oleg Barkin, Deputy Chairman of the Market Council Association non-profit partnership, noted the raising investment is a priority problem. The program is to be implemented by 2038; importantly, 43% of estimated RES costs have to do with servicing capital, which means we have to invest more, but our economy is too expensive in terms of capital movement, he stressed.

Barkin has prepared proposals for the development of renewable energy for 2025–2035.

In his opinion, financial support should not be neglected, because these policies will play a decisive role in the development of renewable energy.

At the end of the discussion, Maria Kozlova, an expert at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland, noted that the RES support mechanism is balanced between a minimum amount of public funds and a lot of investor support.

The policies President Vladimir Putin proposed during his Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, 2020 should definitely play a role in the development of new approaches to renewable energy in Russia, especially in the regions – in particular, the planned use of federal funds to compensate the regions for two-thirds of the lost revenue stemming from incentives for investors. This was also mentioned at the session.


Reference

The 11th Gaidar Forum, Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade, held at the Presidential Academy on January 15 and 16, 2020, focuses on discussing national and global development goals and finding practical answers to the most pressing challenges of our time. The forum is attended by Cabinet ministers of the Russian Federation, members of the Federal Assembly, governors of Russian regions, major international experts, and representatives of foreign states.

11th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA); The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute); The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

Forum partners:

General partners: Gazprom, Gazprombank. Strategic partners: Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Russian Railways, Pharmstandard group, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Novartis Group, MSD, ACIG Group, EF Education First. Partners: Prosveshcheniye Group, EY, Huawei, RVC, Russian Agricultural Bank.

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