The head of Russian hydropower giant RusHydro says Russia has just five years to re-establish itself as the supplier of world-beating hydropower technology if it is not to lose out to competitors in the developing world.
RusHydro Acting Chairman Vasily Zubakin said RusHydro, the world's second largest hydropower generator, has a strategic plan for Russia to be once again the dominant player in hydropower plant design and construction.
"We have a commitment to re-establish the reputation of Russian technology to that of the Soviet days when many countries' hydropower facilities, including those of China, were built with Russian expertise," Zubakin told a London news conference. "We must return to this position within five years, otherwise the experience of the aging workforce will be lost."
RusHydro is competing with international equipment and service providers for contracts in developing countries. The utility operates 53 hydro power plants in Russia and has its own in-house research and development facilities, design institute, and engineering facilities.
Zubakin's comments came July 6, 2009, the day the firm launched the trading of global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange, aimed at broadening its shareholder base and increasing liquidity. (HydroWorld 7/6/09)
Utility seeks reputation as clean energy company
RusHydro is also keen to brand itself as a clean energy company and plans to invest heavily in a renewable energy portfolio, which already includes wind, geothermal, and tidal projects. Zubakin said prospects for the company would be affected by decisions to be made later this year in Copenhagen at the Global Climate Change Conference.
"We believe we have a strong potential for growth and this will be influenced by the depth of the decisions in Copenhagen, affecting the planet's sustainable development after Kyoto," Zubakin said.
RusHydro already has foreign interests including a joint venture in India. (HydroWorld 5/6/08) Central Asia was singled out as a region of interest with RusHydro looking to develop hydropower projects in the upper reaches of Kyrgyzstan's rivers.
"Our preference is to work through joint ventures, which better allow for management of local regulation and environmental issues," said Zubakin.
The utility executive told reporters RusHydro plans to invest more than US$9 billion in the Far East in the next decade, increasing its generating capacity by more than 70 percent. He said more than 2,500 MW is on the drawing boards in the region.
RusHydro signed an agreement in May with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and J-Power of Japan to study development of the 320-MW Nizhne Bureyskaya (Lower Bureyskaya) hydroelectric project in the Far Eastern Amurskaya Region. (HydroWorld 5/13/09) Additionally, RusHydro said in June that its stalled 3,000-MW Boguchanskaya project appeared to be back on track in Siberia. (HydroWorld 6/23/09)