Published on November 25th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown1
Russian Wind Powering Europe? IFC Explores The Possibility
There’s reportedly a plan to construct large wind farms in an arctic region in northwestern Russia. The plan was inspired by the Desertec initiative. The plan, which is called RUSTEC, involves building dozens of wind farms, which would then export the wind energy to Europe through Norway and Finland.
This may help European countries to meet their renewable energy goals. They need the cheapest renewable energy they can get, and RUSTEC might be able to provide that.
The project was called the “brainchild” of the International Finance Organization (IFC).
Due to the fact that the region in the plan is unusually windy, it is expected to generate electricity more cheaply than offshore European plants (offshore wind power is still considerably more expensive than onshore wind). As wind speeds increase, the ratio of electricity generated to the cost of wind turbines increases, decreasing the cost of wind power.
The cost of wind power is calculated using that ratio, but O&M (operation and maintenance) costs for wind are also factored in, and affect the cost, although very marginally compared to wind speed.
“I was inspired by DESERTEC — the plan to build solar stations in the Sahara desert in northwest Africa and transmit electricity to Southern Europe. I thought, why solar power from Africa, why not wind power in Russia?” said Patrick Willems, the project manager of the IFC’s program to develop renewable energy in Russia.
Offshore wind farms normally generate more electricity than onshore ones in general because it is usually windier offshore, but, particularly windy locations inland could exceed that.
Also, offshore wind farms normally generate more expensive electricity than land ones, as noted above, despite their superior performance, partly due to the relatively high maintenance cost of offshore wind farms.
Russian wind farms are uncommon, and there are multiple reasons for that. That is not necessarily because Russia is a major oil and gas producer — Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest oil producers in the world is so ambitiously pursuing renewable energy.
This may kick-start the Russian wind industry.
Source: The Moscow Times