Energy Infrastructure in N-W Russia

Energy supplies are extremely important for the economies of the Russian territories of the Barents Region due to cold climate, long distances and energy intensive industries. The oblasts and the republics of the region are, however, in quite different positions regarding their energy sector. Some of them have their own oil, natural gas or hydropower resources, while others lack practically all local resources. The existence of oil and gas pipelines also puts the territories into different positions. For some of the regions in north-west Russia, e.g. for the Leningrad and Murmansk Oblasts, nuclear power forms an important source of energy.

Power generation and distribution in the Russian Federation is carried out in the framework of seven power pools which are planned to be independent and self-sufficient. The connections between different pools are therefore weak, and the transmission capacities quite limited. The Russian territories of the Barents Region belong to two separate power pools. The North-West Power Pool comprises the Murmansk, Leningrad, Novgorod and Pskov Oblasts, and the Republic of Karelia. The Centre Power Pool contains the Arkhangelsk and Vologda Oblasts, the Republic of Komi, as well as a large number of other regions stretching down to the Caspian Sea. Electricity generation in the North-West Power Pool (NWPP) amounted to 55 TWh in 1994, which was practically the same as the annual consumption. A distinctive characteristic of the NWPP is that about 45% of the electricity produced is from nuclear power plants, while 35% comes from fossil-fired, and the remaining 20% from hydropower plants. The fuel balance in the NWPP was the following in 1994: 50% natural gas, 42% petroleum products, and 8% other fuels including waste wood. The Murmansk and Leningrad Oblasts are energy surplus areas in the frames of the NWPP, while the Republic of Karelia is the largest deficit area. The NWPP has connections to Norway, Finland, the Baltic states, and Belarus, and it is linked to the Unified Power System of the Russian Federation via 750 kV and 330 kV transmission lines, as shown in Figure 35 on page 139.

Electricity generation in the Centre Power Pool (CPP) amounted to 250 TWh in 1994, while the annual consumption was about 195 TWh. The share of fossil-fired production was 72%, followed by nuclear with 20%, and hydropower with 8%. Some of the largest nuclear and thermal power plants in Russia are situated in the CPP. The fuel mix in the power production was the following: 78% natural gas, 12% petroleum products, and 10% coal Out of the northernmost territories of the CPP, the Republic of Komi is the major energy surplus area due to its own substantial oil, natural gas and coal resources. The Arkhangelsk Oblast is an energy deficit area, while the Vologda Oblast has quite a balanced situation. The CPP is connected to four other power pools, and it also has links to Belarus and Ukraine.

More specifically, the Russian territories of the Barents Region together generated about 31.9 TWh of electricity in 1996. Correspondingly, these regions had a total electricity consumption of about 24.1 TWh in 1996. Of the four regions, the largest producer and consumer of electricity is the Murmansk Oust which has four WER-440 nuclear reactor units at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant in Polyarnye Zori as well as 17 hydropower plants. The total installed capacity of the Murmansk Oblast is about 3.8 GW. The power plants and main transmission lines in the four regions are shown in here.

Heat production for the needs of industries and municipalities of north-west Russia is carried out in combined heat and power (CHP) plants, various types of industrial plants, and in heat-only boiler plants. District heating systems are commonly used in the northern communities of Russia, and in addition to the CHP plants, many industrial plants support adjoining population centres. Various fuels are used for heat production and co-generation. They include local fuels like waste wood, hack liquor and pipeline gas, as well as fuel oil (especially "mazut") and energy coal, which are often transported to end-users over long distances.