No looking back: Energy transition in Russia
In many ways, this year was the tipping point for renewable energy. The world has woken up to the imperative of energy transition, and countries around the world have made progress on this front, albeit in different degrees. We take stock of their situation in this multi-part series.
Russia uses very little of its huge renewable energy potential despite having substantial and diverse renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass.
According to the current plans and policies, renewables could reach about five percent of the country's energy mix by 2030, but the Russian Federation plans to achieve this target by 2024 itself. That means the country will need 5.5 GW of renewables capacity and ESS to offset the intermittency of wind and solar energy generation.
Accelerated deployment of RE could increase their share in the country's energy mix to more than 11 percent by 2030, according to a working paper by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
In another development in energy storage in Russia, in October 2020, Russia's state nuclear major Rosatom set up a new subsidiary, Renera to venture into the energy storage business. The subsidiary currently makes module-type lithium-ion traction batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage systems for emergency power supply, renewables, and smoothing of load demand.
Renera has also been tasked with coordination and expansion of the manufacturing capacity and will be responsible for construction of all gigafactories in Russia.
Post the war with Ukraine, Russia is looking to achieve technological sovereignty for its automotive industry as, several EU proposals to restrict trade with Russia included restrictions on exports of battery tech products and services including electric vehicles.
Notable Energy Storage projects announced in 2023:
- On January 5, 2023, Russia's PM Mikhail Mishustin said work has started on the country's first giga factory. The state-owned corporation Rosatom had started building a 4 GWh lithium-ion battery plant in the Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad. The plant is expected to begin operations in 2025. On completion, the giga factory is expected to produce 50,000 EV batteries annually.
The Russian government announced the Concept for the Development of Production and Use of Electric Vehicles in Russia until 2030 – which are elaborate directions for creating national production of batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
According to IEA, the concept will see Russia invest a total of 591 billion roubles in the development of battery and hydrogen vehicles by 2030. The government has set the goal to have 10 percent of vehicles produced in Russia to be electric by 2030. Further, it aims to install 9,400 charging stations for electric cars by 2024 and 72,000 by 2030.
In February, Russia revealed that about 2,000 EVs were produced in the country in 2022, adding that it planned to increase production nine-fold this year to about 18,000 units, before increasing it further to 36,000 units a year by 2024.
Russia has also started setting up fast-charging stations. Government data claims the country has 4,367 charging points, of which 3,679 are slow charging points and 688 are fast charging points.
Given Russia's vast energy reserves, the country has been late in rolling out a hydrogen strategy.
The government announced its Hydrogen Strategy in 2020 and approved a roadmap for hydrogen development a year later. As per the plan, Russia's primary goal is to become a world-leading producer and exporter of hydrogen energy with a goal to export 200,000 metric tons by 2024 and 2 million metric tons by 2035.
Russia expected its hydrogen strategy would bring in $23-100 billion profits annually. However, the invasion of Ukraine and subsequent geo-economic reconfiguration has left the strategy in peril. International sanctions, bans on technology transfer, loss of foreign direct investment, and other R&D restrictions have temporarily halted the country's hydrogen strategy.
In the present circumstances, Russia will have to build new hydrogen infrastructure from the ground up. Reports suggest an estimated profit of $12.8 billion for the Russian hydrogen industry, but the investment in production alone will need to be double that amount, at $21.1 billion.
To see other articles in this series, click here.