In the Next Ten Years the Power Industry May Undergo Dramatic Changes

On January 16, the long-term configurations of the global power industry were discussed at the 5th Gaidar Forum within the frameworks of a plenary discussion: Sustained Development of the Power Industry: How to Make the Desired Thing Available?


According to participants in the discussion, the main parameters of the trend in the global power industry in the horizon till 2030 include among other things growth in energy resources, higher energy efficiency of the global economy, development of renewable energy sources and technological innovations in processing of hydrocarbons and production of energy carriers.


The most evident innovation breakthrough which is able to change dramatically the global market of energy resources is the shale revolution. Apart fr om the actual prospect of energy sufficiency in the US, the technological breakthrough demonstrates availability of highly innovation potential in the industry. In the next decade, the global power industry may undergo dramatic transformations as regards development of both traditional and alternative sources of energy.


Recognizing objective advantages and promising prospects of development of the alternative power engineering, Mikhail Kovalchuk, Director of the Kurchatovsky Institute Research Center and moderator of the discussion said that it was not a panacea. Solar power stations reduce considerably potential crop areas, instances of a negative effect of wind generators' infrasound on the fauna have been registered and production of biofuel creates local food shortages.


Accepting those arguments in general, Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Board of ОАО ROSNANO confirmed that the Bloomberg (BNEF) forecast of a 37% growth in the share of renewable sources in the volume of power produced in 2030 was a realistic one. Full competition with traditional energy resources would become feasible as a result of development of renewable energy sources and reduction of production costs. Commenting on the prospects of alternative power engineering in Russia, Anatoly Chubais pointed to the fact that there were regions wh ere development of renewable energy sources was economically justified and feasible. Those regions included the Archangelsk Territory and Yakutia.


Further growth in energy efficiency of the global economy, innovation development of oil refinery and gas processing and progress in renewable power engineering determine the urgency of external challenges to the Russian power complex. Promotion of its competitive edge and strengthening of its positions on global markets are feasible thanks to availability of a powerful mineral resources base and fundamental science, however, there is not much time left for effective realization of the potential.


О.B. Berezinskaya, Leading Expert of the Structural Research Center