Rosatom wants to catch the wind

Due to lack of customers, Rosatom intends to move forward in the market of green energy.
Origin source
More and more countries are refusing to build nuclear power plants in favor of wind and solar power stations. To stay on the international market, Rosatom will have to develop green technologies. Against the background of Chinese power engineers, the prospects of the domestic state-owned company look sad. However, to get money from the budget it's even good.
Instead of nuclear power plants, Rosatom will build windmills not only in Russia, but also abroad. The other day it became known that the state company invests in the creation of wind farms in the Arabian Peninsula. A preliminary agreement on this between Rusatom-International Network (a subsidiary of Rosatom) and Saudi company AL-Yamama for Trading and Contracting was signed within the Atomexpo-2017 forum.

Earlier, it was reported that Rosatom plans to build 16 nuclear power units in Saudi Arabia, but it seems that the kingdom is not very interested in Russian reactors, and therefore our nuclear engineers will have to catch wind in the Arabian desert. In the outgoing week, the management of Rosatom actually announced that it does not see any development prospects for the main activity. In the portfolio of the state company there are projects for $ 130 billion, following the results of 2017, there may be more of them. But gradually it is becoming increasingly difficult to look for orders for the construction of new nuclear power plants, after 2025 they may not be at all. In this regard, the nuclear scientists want to develop alternative activities. As Deputy Director General of Rosatom Vyacheslav Pershukov said, by 2030, 40% of the proceeds should come from projects that are not related to the atom.

In the 2000s, nuclear power was experiencing a renaissance, but the growth period ended after the accident at the Japanese nuclear power plant "Fukushima" in the spring of 2011. More and more governments want to damp existing reactors and abandon new projects in this area. A month ago, the refusal of a peaceful atom was supported by the Swiss in a referendum, Germany earlier rushed in a similar way. France, which receives 85% of electricity from the NPP, will also develop "green" energy, this was part of the electoral program of the new president, Emmanuel Macron. The US, which maintains world leadership in the number of power units, plans to halve nuclear generation by 2020.

The world market for NPP construction is narrowing, and the position of Rosatom could be sympathized. But the successes and grandiose plans of the Chinese nuclear forces prevent this from happening.

Grow a competitor

Contrary to the forecast for reducing the number of reactors, by 2030 the PRC plans to build 30 power units of nuclear power plants in the countries through which the "Silk Road of the XXI Century" is passing. By 2026, just by the time when Rosatom expects difficulties with the search for customers, China plans to become the largest nuclear power in the world, having increased the installed capacity of its nuclear power plants to almost 100 GW - this is three times more than now.

"Rosatom", in turn, is desperately looking for new customers. In 2017, the company's portfolio can be replenished with power unit construction projects in India and Bangladesh, the state corporation is negotiating the construction of nuclear power plants in Jordan and Zambia. But the competition with China is very tough. The Chinese seized from Russia contracts for the construction of the fourth and fifth reactors at the Argentine Atucha nuclear power plant, intend to build several power units in Iran (where Rosatom participated in the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant) and claim to build stations in South Africa. But it was our country that supplied China with technology at the very beginning of its program for the development of peaceful atom!

After statements by Rosatom management regarding the development of green energy, one could be pleased with the progressiveness of the Russian company, say "let the Chinese build an NPP on the model of the last century, and we will be engaged in advanced technologies." But this can not be done, since Russia was late with entering the international market for wind generation. China has been working on it for 10 years.

Do not overtake, do not overtake

Today, according to the information of Rosatom itself, Russia's share in the global production of wind energy is negligible. We have several wind power stations in our country, the most powerful of which are about 5MW per year. At the same time, around 40 GW of wind power are introduced every year in the world, and half of them have, oddly enough, to China.
In 2007, the PRC invested more than $ 2 billion in the construction of 60 large wind power plants, where the training of specialists began. At that time in the Middle Kingdom, there were four dozen companies manufacturing equipment for wind energy. The country has localized the capacity of the world's largest producers of such equipment. After only three years, almost 100% of the wind turbines in China were of local origin. In addition, by 2010, Chinese companies Feng
(Golden Wind) and Hua Rui began to export Chinese equipment for wind power plants.

The fate of the projects of Rosatom against the background of all this does not look promising. However, if we assess the company's prospects not according to the future volume of the market, but by the size of state funding, it will go well with it. According to some experts, all successful companies in the field of "green" energy have a common feature, namely, a large share of debt financing (up to 80%). In particular, Paul Wimmer, a former employee of the investment bank Goldman Sachs and founder of his own consulting firm Wimmer Financial LLP believes that the situation in the renewable energy market already resembles a financial bubble.

The situation is similar to what was happening around dotcoms in the early 2000s and the mortgage crisis in the US in 2007-2008. Overheating of companies working in the field of alternative energy can lead to their massive bankruptcy or the need for large-scale government support. Is this what Rosatom expects? By the way, the Russian government has already announced its intention to subsidize loan rates for renewable energy projects within the framework of Energy Strategy-2035. According to preliminary estimates, this will annually require 25-27 billion rubles.

How exactly Rosatom will deal with the development of alternative energy is not difficult to guess. State corporations are still calling one of the promising areas the construction of floating nuclear power plants. To them, "great interest" island states like Indonesia and the Philippines. What already
Wrote "Version", the construction of "exemplary" floating nuclear power plant "Academician Lomonosov" stretched for 10 years and during this time has risen in price by almost 10 times. I want to believe that the development of wind power by the forces of Rosatom will not turn into the creation of a perpetual motion machine, the work of which requires eternal financing.


449 nuclear power units operate in the world today;
60 reactors are under construction;
30 countries have programs for the development of nuclear energy.