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Bridge to Hokkaido

On Sakhalin, they returned to discuss the project of the Asian energy super-ring developed at the beginning of the 2000-

Bridge to Hokkaido

The state is investing heavily in the development of the Far East. It is obvious that such a resource-rich region cannot and should not exist forever on federal subsidies. The local economy is already entering the East Asian market with competitive bids. Most recently, the governor of the region, Alexander Khoroshavin, presented in Japan a report on the prospects for the Russia (Sakhalin) - Japan energy bridge.

I lost a little ring

The concept of the project appeared in the late 1990s, when RAO UES of Russia was looking for partners to unite the East Asian energy systems. The project is based on a very simple idea: the maximum load, say, in Tokyo and Vladivostok, due to the difference in time zones, falls on different times. Therefore, in some places, a power shortage occurs just at the moment when there are unloaded capacities in others.

The project "Asian Super Ring" was proposed by RAO UES in 1998-2000 and was intended to link the energy systems of Russia, China, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan. In 2003, the Russian energy monopolist and the Japanese Sumitomo Corp signed a memorandum of cooperation and began preparing a feasibility study. However, then the estimated costs outweighed the potential benefit from the project.

Now, when Japan turns off nuclear power because of the well-known events at Fukushima, the country may face a real capacity deficit, because nuclear power plants produced up to 25% of output. As a result, in the northern part of the country there is already a deficit of peak capacity of about 1200 MW. The configuration of the energy systems of the island state also imposes its imprint - in fact, these are three autonomous energy areas, the energy flows between which are extremely limited. Obviously, it will be necessary to cover the deficit with imported fuel and alternative sources, but both are very expensive, and each kilowatt of power is accounted for here.

At the same time, Sakhalin Energy is experiencing rapid growth - the fourth power unit of Yuzhno-Sakhalinskaya CHPP-1 is being completed, and a large-scale construction of Sakhalinskaya GRES-2 will soon be launched north of the regional capital, financing of which is guaranteed by presidential decree. As a result, the island may have excess capacity - so why not share it with a needy neighbor? Especially if it gives a tangible profit.

New attempt

With the change in the conjuncture, experts from both countries returned to discussing the export mechanism. During his April visit to Moscow, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew attention to new prospects for energy cooperation, but at the highest level, however, it is still more about the traditional format for the export of energy resources. If we talk about options for the supply of power capacity, now the most likely scenario is that Sakhalin and Hokkaido will connect the submarine cable along the bottom of the Laperuza Strait. Recall, the width of the strait in the narrowest part is 43 km. The Sakhalin energy system by 2020 will be able to export up to 0,6 GW of energy for export. But this is only the first step.

At the end of April, the leadership of the holding "RAO Energy Systems of the East", the manager of the heat power industry of the Far Eastern Federal District, presented to the delegation of the Sakhalin Region a detailed cooperation project - if the parties have a mutual interest, the second phase of the project will be the construction of a gigawatt coal generation on the island. The third stage is laying the cable from the mainland to Sakhalin: the island's energy system will become part of the United Energy System of the East, which will allow exporting surplus of even cheaper energy. It is planned that free capacities on the mainland will appear as a result of the realization of the region's hydro-power potential.

The project requires large investments - up to $ 6 billion. And laying the cable itself is not the most difficult: on both sides of the strait, construction of the transmission and receiving infrastructure will be required, and at "advanced" stages of the project, investments will be required in the construction of generating facilities. But its implementation, in addition to the actual ability to generate profits, will bring a lot of positive results for the region. First, new facilities on Sakhalin are new jobs. Secondly, any new large projects of Far Eastern energy companies, which will ever be built both on the mainland and on the island, will be guaranteed to be loaded even at a time when energy consumption in the country is at a minimum. It is clear that for the next few years this project is a theory, but if it will be possible to implement the third phase, it will be possible to export up to 4 GW of power for export.


The largest underwater energy bridges

• NorNed: Emshaven, Netherlands - Feda, Norway. 700 MW, 580 km

• Basslink: Loy Young Power Station, Australia — Georgetown, Fr. Tasmania. 500 MW, 370 km

• BritNed: Kent, United Kingdom - Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 1 GW, 260 km

• SwePol: Bruskovo Wilkis, Poland - Karlshamn, Sweden. 600 MW, 254 km

• Baltic Cable: Lübeck-Herrenvik substation, Germany - Arri, Sweden. 600 MW, 250 km

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