‘Green’ energy: Can the sun and wind replace hydrocarbons

The leading countries of the world are actively switching to the so-called “green” energy, and their share in the global energy systems is steadily increasing. And what about Russia?

Russia has a Unified Energy System (UES) and regionally isolated energy systems. EEC consists of 7 interconnected power systems (IPS) are IPS for the center, IPS for the central Volga, IPS for the Urals, IPS for the northwest, IPS for the south, and IPS for Siberia. Regionally isolated energy systems include three energy districts of the Chukotka Autonomous Region, several energy districts of the Kamchatka Territory and the Sakhalin Region, the Energy District of the Magadan Region, Norilsk-Taymyr and Nikolaev Energy Districts, decentralized energy supply districts in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the northern part of Yakutia and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

According to the Ministry of Energy, in 2019, electricity generation from power plants in the UES of Russia, including electricity generation at power plants of industrial enterprises, amounted to 100.6 billion kilowatt-hours. At the same time, thermal power plants produced 679.9 billion kWh, hydropower plants – 190.3 billion kWh, nuclear power plants – 208.8 billion kWh, wind farms – 0.3 billion kWh, solar plants – 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours.

as seen, The most common type is thermal power plantswhose production ranges from 40% to 92% depending on the province. For example, in the UES of the Urals, the share of electricity generated from thermal power plants is 92.5%in IPS East – 61.3%In regionally isolated power systems, the share of electricity generated by thermal power plants is 56.6%. Here are the nuclear power plants, the largest number of which is concentrated in the IPS of the center, and hydroelectric power plants, the electricity of which is largely used in the IPS of Siberia (59.5%and isolated power systems41.7%). But the share of generation of wind and solar power plants is very small. Solar and wind energy are largely used in IPS in the south, but that’s just by 1.1% of the total electricity generated. In other energy systems, its share, if any at all, is negligible.

The main fuel for the Russian thermal energy industry is natural gas. But many stations are heated Associated petroleum gas, solid or brown coal, diesel fuel and heating oil. Thus, the second largest power plant, Reftinskaya GRES, located in the Sverdlovsk region, is also the largest coal-fired power plant in Russia. Ryazanskaya GRES uses brown coal, hard coal and natural gas. Berezovskaya GRES in the Krasnoyarsk Territory uses lignite, and Novocherkasskaya GRES in the Rostov region uses coal and natural gas. Coal, diesel fuel and fuel oil are used as starting fuel and backup fuel in small power plants located in decentralized power supply areas. Also, there are still large cities in Russia with a population of more than 300 thousand people, which are heated by coal – these are Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Chita and Ulan-Ude.

Now let’s take a look at The cost of generated electricity. The cheapest, of course, is electricity produced by thermal power plants running on natural gas, or rather, thermal power plants equipped with combined cycle plants. The cost of this electricity From 2.3 to 3 rubles per kWhBy region. Electricity costs generated from coal-fired thermal power plants from 4 to 7 rubles per kWh, Hydropower costs From 5 to 13 rubles per kWhnuclear power plants – From 6.5 to 9 rubles per kWh. But the most expensive is the so-called “green” or “clean” energy. The cost of electricity generated by wind farms is From 5.5 to 11 rubles per kWhand solar power plants – From 7 to 25 rubles per kWh.

The government plans to develop “Green color” or “Cleaning” energy. The authorities decided to extend the Renewable Energy Resources Development (RES) Support Program until 2035, as a result of which it was planned to operate the generation of renewable energy sources with a total capacity of up to 6.7 gigawatts. However, it should be noted Existing problems in the renewable energy industry. First, at present, electricity generated using renewable energy sources has a high cost. So the cost of wind energy is on average 2 times More than energy generated from thermal power plants, and solar energy – more than 3.5 times. The cost of building wind farms and solar power plants is very high and far exceeds the cost of building thermal power plants or hydroelectric power plants. And, of course, we must not forget about the low efficiency of renewable energy sources in most regions of Russia and cheap hydrocarbons. Therefore, according to experts, in Russia, alternative energy sources are unlikely to replace traditional ones in the near future.

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