2 Feb 2018 12:53

Russia, Mongolia to discuss electricity supplies instead of building HPP on Selenge in spring

IRKUTSK. Feb 2 (Interfax) - The issue of Mongolia importing electricity instead of building hydropower plants on the Selenge River, which could threaten the ecosystem of Lake Baikal in Siberia, will be discussed in the spring at a meeting of the Russian-Mongolian intergovernmental commission, Russia Natural Resources and Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi said on Friday.

"There is an alternative. This is the supply of energy from Russia to Mongolia. We will raise this issue at the intergovernmental commission this spring. There are the economics of building HPP, but there are also negative consequences [for Baikal], and we are drawing the Mongolian side's attention to this. We will try to explain to our colleagues from Mongolia that there is a more effective way to spend money than to build such monstrous projects," Donskoi said at a meeting in Irkutsk of the interdepartmental commission for the protection of Lake Baikal.

The leader of Buryatia, Alexei Tsydenov said at the meeting that "verbal understandings" have been reached with Mongolia on exports of Russian electricity instead of the construction of HPP on the Selenge River. He also said that Mongolia is interested in importing electricity at peak periods of consumption, rather than constantly.

It was reported earlier that President Vladimir Putin ordered the Energy Ministry and Buryatia to present proposals for supplying electricity to Mongolia from the Gusinoozersky GRES power plant. An increase in electricity supplies is being considered due to Mongolia's plans to build hydropower plants that could have a negative environmental impact on Lake Baikal.

Mongolia intends to build four hydropower plants in the basin of the Selenge River, including the 245 MW Shuren HPP on the Selenge itself, and the 315 MW Egiin Gol HPP, 100 MW Orkhon HPP and 25 MW Chargait HPP on its tributaries.