Why Russia does not believe in renewable energy?

-xqvzjzv8-8cOS9x4pnXtdPYjJwLet’s start with numbers for the leading gas producing country

Despite the numbers proving that Russia is capable to fulfill its energy needs, there are still 2/3 of the country with a population of about 20 million people located outside the district energy networks. These areas have the highest prices and tariffs on fuel and energy (10-20rub / kW and higher); most of the energy-deficient regions need to import energy and fuel from other regions, which is extremely expensive. For them, the issue of energy security is at stake as for EU countries. Moreover, the fact that Russia is a leader in gas production has not prevented 50% of urban and 35% rural settlements from using coal or importing energy.

In this regard, investing in renewable energy could be a solution for these regions, but there is still a set of issues why Russian politicians are very critical towards the integration of renewable sources.

Renewables are a threat for the leader of gas exports

In June 2016,at a conference of the state Analytical Agency, A. Mitreykin, the Deputy Minister of the Energy Department of Energy Saving, said that renewable energy is a « Western weapon against the Russian Federation » (« Kommersant » newspaper). This is an official position of the minister, therefore any development of renewables can face normative, political and economic obstacles.

“Savoir faire” in the aim of self defense  

The topic of alternative energy is highly politicized, especially regarding the EU. On the one hand, the discourses of the sustainable development and the place of renewables within it are part of “green” and “progressive” image of the country. Some local projects were launched in this perspective, Skolkovo innovation center for instance. On the other hand, new EU regulation and goals for renewable energy in the energy supply bring to the table a lot of concerns for Russia.

If to invest, then only with immediate profit

Russia has no ecological movement that can efficiently manifest their opinion to the authorities.  The notion of being ecologically friendly mostly holds ironic meaning in the Russian society. Therefore, any innovative decision in the field of renewables meets robust economic arguments of doubtable profitability. Highly discussed in Russia argue between A. Chubies Head of State Innovation Agency and G. Gref  Head of Sberbank the biggest Russian state bank during scientific forum of 2016 , highlighted the question -  what should come first innovations as such,  or their profitable immediate use. For Russia the answer is now clear: invest in what can bring outcome in the shortest perspective, and renewables do not.

However, many experts are questioning the capacity of natural resources, even for the leading producer, when the price equality of renewable and convenient energy is already reached in many European Countries. 

 

Renewable sources of energy  1%
National energy program  2020 2%
Country’s oil and gas sector in  GDP share 17%
Consolidate  revenue of the sector in GDP  share 40%
Proportion of energy  exported abroad 2/3
Russia is ranked 1st in terms of reserves of natural gas 23% of world reserves 
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