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For the first time, power from Siberia could be sold to the West

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 July 2012

Ambitious plans to connect Siberia's huge power supplies to those of Western Russia are under consideration.

The scheme would mean uniting electricity supplies, at an estimated cost approaching $20 billion. 

One advantage would be to make the national power system more stable, with fewer capacity fluctuations and losses in grids and more reserves. 

Another is that Siberia's hydro-driver electricity is cheaper to produce than power in Western Russia - and so could reduce overall costs, and specifically consumer prices in European Russia it is reported. 

For the first time, power from Siberia could also be sold to the West.

Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Dam
Inside Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Dam, seventh largest in the world. Picture: Natalya Kobets

Already China and other fast-moving Asian markets are seen as increasing buyers for Siberian power, but there is potential for large exports from the region, and in future these might go to Europe where there is growing opposition to nuclear power. 

Business daily Vedomosti said the plans are being investigated by the government commission on the fuel and energy complex chaired by deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

Dvorkovich has  ordered the Energy Ministry, the Economic Development Ministry, the non-commercial partnership Sovet Rynka (or Market Council), and dispatching company System Operator to examine the viability of building grids to unite the first and second price zones of Western and Eastern Russia. 

'The most discussed way of uniting the first and second price zones is to build power lines and substations transferring power from Siberia through Kazakhstan to the Urals area and central Russia,' said Prime Energy Service. 

The scheme could mean building some 2,500km of grids at a cost of around $4 billion, said 

Sergei Pikin, director of the Energy Development Fund.

New power plants with a combined capacity of 6 gigawatts would be required, costing another  $15 billion, he suggested. 

Sovet Rynka Director Vyacheslav Kravchenko supports the idea, but has questioned whether there will be lower prices for consumers after the investment costs are included. 

He even suggested the scheme could raise consumer prices in Siberia. 

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