Crimea solar power plants and wind power plants are facing an uncertain future according to recent reports.
After the region’s move to join the Russian Federation a few months ago, the power plants saw their power purchase agreements with the Ukrainian state-owned utility Energorynok cancelled. With the loss of those agreements, the plants were forced to shutter operations for the time being — leaving them in their present state of limbo.
Not surprising of course, given the political turmoil, but still unfortunate to see fully functional renewable energy power plants shut down for reasons like this. It’ll be interesting to see what the ultimate fate of the plants will be, as there are a number of interesting possibilities.
As it stands currently, Russia is working to make up for the energy shortfall created by the loss of energy imported from Ukraine (~80%) via natural gas — but a longer-term electricity plan is currently in the works as well. Whether or not that will include renewables, though, is still unclear.
That’s not something that you would necessarily think is a question given the fact that nearly 7% of Crimea’s power demand was previously met by the region’s solar plants (from 300 MW of projects), but with the murky politics involved in the projects it isn’t all as cut-and-dry as you might think.
For one, the feed-in-tariff rates established under the previous President, Viktor Yanykovych, are likely not long for the world. Not surprising considering that they were highest FiT rates in Europe.
And two, the political instability makes further investment in the region unlikely. At least until things calm down anyway.
When taken altogether, the future of renewable energy in the region is as hard to predict as the future of anything else there — hopefully solid moves will begin to be made, though, ending the shuttering of the perfectly good power plants.
In related news — Russia recently revealed its expectation that investment into the country’s solar industry would reach $4.2 annually by he year 2020. The prediction — made by the country’s Ministry of Energy — is that the state-owned investment giant Rusnano, and the Renova Group conglomeration, will play a significant role in the growth.
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