Medvedev: Green power in Russia has a 'bright future'

By James Maynard , Jun 01, 2013 08:47 PM EDT

Dmitry Medvedev believes green energy has a bright future in Russia. The Russian prime minister has signed a resolution sending Russia down the path to their first large-scale renewable energy production. On May 28, Medvedev also appeared at a conference of international investors called Startup Village, held outside Moscow, to talk about his country's new plan to incorporate electricity from renewable sources into Russia's energy grid.

During his remarks, the 47-year-old Medvedev called for financial incentives from the Russian government for renewable energy production. Russia currently only spends a little over three million dollars a year on such measures. This is a radical departure for Russia which has, until now, rarely considered renewable energy. He also stated his belief that Russia's rich supplies of fossil fuels and other hydrocarbons were curtailing investment and development of renewable energy production facilities in his country.

"[T]hat doesn't mean that we must refuse traditional sources in favor of new one because we have enough traditional [sources], thank heavens, for may years to come. Nevertheless, this percentage should change," Medvedev said.

The Russian government approved an incentive program on May 23 that calls for six gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy production plants, including the country's first solar farms. The incentives are designed to make building and running renewable power plants in Russia profitable. The production limits were put in place to prevent additional costs from being passed onto consumers, caused by the greater cost of producing electricity from renewable sources compared to traditional methods.

VetroOGK, which is part of the Atomenergomash nuclear and energy company, is considering building a wind farm in southern Russia. A recent in-depth study of the Murmansk Region in the north of Russia by Valeriy Minin found the area to be rich in potential to generate renewable energy. Minin is the Deputy Director Institute for Physical and Technological Problems of Energy in Northern Areas, at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The conference at which the Prime Minster appeared was held in Technopark Skolkovo, a technology hub that is a favorite project of Medvedev. The leader hails the area as Russia's version of Silicon Valley.

"I see various countries and their leaders changing their approach to the issue of green energy, green growth and renewable energy sources... That is why we are also correcting our position. We, of course, believe that renewable energy sources have a bright future," Medvedev said.

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