3 Dec 2009 14:14

Russia needs to commission 10,000 MW of power capacity in 2 yrs

MOSCOW. Dec 3 (Interfax) - Russia needs to commission 10,000 megawatts of new power generating capacity in the next two years, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a live televised call-in show.

"We commissioned 13,000 MW in the last ten years and have another 10,000 MW to do in the next two years. That's a very decent pace, and it also applies to the Boguchany hydro plant ," he said.

He said the new owners of power capacity must honor their investment commitments. "Arguments that new capacity won't be needed due to a drop in demand are unfounded," he said.

Demand for electricity in Russia has indeed fallen during the crisis, Putin said.

"There is the view that it doesn't make sense to invest money [in generating] right now because we'll have oversupply to contend with. But I think those arguments are unfounded in view of the pace at which our own economy and the global economy are going to develop," he said.

"We can't afford to be late with the development of our power industry. We need to deliver these plans," he said.

"When working with new shareholders [in Russian power companies] I'd like to say that plans to develop generating capacity will definitely be fulfilled," Putin said.

In addition, Putin said there were proposals to expand the functions of System Operator UES to controlling. "Systems Operator has a department that collects information on technical regulations and there is a proposal to increase those functions to ones of control," he said.

Also, Putin said all power industry installations in Russia were being inspected and that the relevant proposals were being drafted. "But that's not enough. We need to think about controlling the technological aspects," he said.

"Equipment manufacturers need to provide support [for that equipment] at all stages of its service life," he said.

To a questioner from Khakassia, scene of an accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydropower Plant in August, who noted the lack of expected outcomes from reform of the Russian electricity system, Putin said, "When we conceptualized the reform, we thought that selling assets would provide funds for expanding and upgrading energy capacity. The new owners were burdened by these obligations."

These are set down in the associated documents, Putin said. In crisis conditions, economic indicators suffered and thus did electric power consumption. "There is an idea that it does not make sense to put that promised money in, as we face the overproduction of electric power. I think that these arguments are unfounded, and that we cannot allow ourselves to delay the development of energy, in order that we may enter a period of economic revival with the full provision of electrical power," he said.

"We have very big plans, and I have no doubt they will be met," Putin said.