Driven by a unified effort to showcase Russia’s economic strength during the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup, the country is aggressively pursuing much needed infrastructure investments in their electrical infrastructure. These investments are projected to grow their smart grid market from $5.5 billion in 2012 to $15.7 billion in 2017.

As the world’s third largest consumer of energy, Russia’s energy infrastructure requires modernization, a fact that President Medvedev’s government is confronting proactively and aggressively. The country’s distribution infrastructure loses 12-14 percent of transmitted energy — worth $10 billion — every year. Its electricity production reached 1,000 TWH in 2010. The installed capacity of power stations totaled 230 million kW. The breakdown by type of power production is: thermal: 158.1 million kW (68.7%), hydro: 47.5 million kW (20.7%), and nuclear: 24.3 (10.6%) million kW. The maximum load of power stations of Russia’s Unified Energy System (UES) at its peak time of consumer demand, was about 151.3 MW.

After two decades of deferred investment, in 2010 the nation indicated it was prepared to spend some $15 billion in the next several years to upgrade its utilities using smart grid and energy storage technologies. Kari Lundgren of Bloomberg Report confirms and extends this estimate by reporting, “FGC UES plans to spend $6 billion annually over the next five years on renovating and expanding its (voltage, wide area electric power) network”.

Major Conclusions

Smart grid technologies are already being and will be increasingly deployed in Russia.

According to even the most pessimistic estimates, 50% growth in both generation and consumption is expected by 2030. Moreover, the Institute for Energy Strategy estimates that consumption of electric energy in will increase 2.5-fold by 2050.

Consumers and households who have the power to change daily load curves are driving the push toward smarter grids. Their share in the energy equation will steadily and continuously grow.

Average losses in electric networks in Russia are about 12-14% compared with 4-9% in Europe, and substantial reduction in grid losses cannot be achieved using current equipment and control mechanisms. New equipment, control principles and better topological layout will therefore have to be deployed to drive increases in grid efficiency.

The current system for payment between parties within the energy market has many weaknesses and limitations which smart grid technology can eliminate, partially or completely.

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