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"Consumers will be able to receive electricity at low prices"
Aggreko CEO Chris Weston - about the economic efficiency of the company's mobile power plants in the Far East
Photo: courtesy of Aggreko
- Russia is one of the key markets for Aggreko. Please tell us what are the main results? In which direction is Aggreko moving in 2018 year? Will it be new technologies in the production of power plants or the development of new territories that need distributed energy?
- Over the past three years, we have achieved significant growth in the Russian market, which was due to a lack of financial resources in the market. We were approached by many companies that needed electricity without capital investments, which allowed them to grow and develop, despite the situation on the market. In such difficult economic conditions, we supported our customers, saving the ruble model of calculating the cost of our services. We helped them save money by using technologies that reduce diesel fuel consumption in power generation and, in the case of oil production, avoiding fines for burning associated petroleum gas by using gas generation.
In 2017, Aggreko bought the company Younicos, which specializes in microgrid and energy storage. In 2018, we plan to launch pilot projects using hybrid energy complexes (the sun - diesel) in remote areas of the Russian Far East. We have considerable experience in implementing projects of varying complexity for consumers in remote regions, which often occur in extreme temperatures and in areas with limited infrastructure. Now our projects provide more than 560 MW of electric power of installed capacity in the Eurasian region, most of the installations operate at oil, gas or other minerals production sites in Siberia and the Far East. The new technologies we offer on the market are based on the use of various types of fuel: heavy fuel, diesel fuel, various types of gas in addition to hybrid solutions.
- At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, you announced intensive development in the Far East of Russia. What is Aggreko's exclusive offer for the region? Do you consider the prospect of creating a technical center or a base in the region, what is needed for you to invest in such an enterprise?
- The Far East is a vast territory that historically has limited access to the energy system. The construction of a network can entail large costs, and in some cases may be unprofitable. In such conditions, the mobile modular energy solutions we offer on the ground ("distributed energy solutions") offer unique opportunities for rapid development of the region. With the help of Aggreko, our consumers, whether industrial enterprises or local residents, will be able to steadily receive electricity at low prices, which does not require prior investment. With regard to existing power plants operating in isolated mode, we can propose replacing obsolete equipment with generators that consume less diesel fuel, and thereby help reduce overall energy costs. We can help our clients translate potential capital costs into operational costs, as well as in the operation of the plants themselves or by involving our local experts (if necessary).
- Tell us about your experience working in the world in isolated areas.
- It is worth mentioning that recently we launched a project with the capacity of 147 MW, including diesel and biofuel power plants, which provides electricity to 32 isolated areas in the Amazonas region of Central Brazil. This project is implemented jointly with the local power supply company. He allowed access to electricity to residents scattered throughout the territory. Another example is the transboundary energy complex on gas in Ressano Garcia, which provided 232 MW of electricity that fed the public power systems of Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia. If we talk about smaller projects, then from 2011, Aggreko provided up to 200 MW of electricity through mobile power plants to eliminate the consequences of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant and the balancing of the power system.
- What promising technologies does the company now develop? The sun, the wind, the smart grid? What could be the application in Russia?
- As I said earlier, last year Aggreko bought the company Younicos, which specializes in the development and use of integrated systems based on energy storage. Younicos offers smart energy solutions using modular storage devices, the capacity of which can be flexibly expanded or reduced. Their knowledge of the entire battery technology along with their own control systems provide a smooth transition when using several sources of energy within the system, including thermal, renewable and accumulated.
Integration and control of systems with thermal, renewable and battery sources are necessary to ensure the stability and reliability of the system. Energy solutions without grid connection and energy solutions with microgrid often include the production of energy from renewable sources, while industrial and commercial consumers use the possibilities of integrating renewable sources and regulating electricity consumption.
Since the electricity market has a tendency to abandon the use of hydrocarbons, generation is becoming increasingly decentralized and digital, integrating and monitoring a multitude of energy sources, including both thermal and renewable ones, will be key to ensuring uninterrupted power supply.
One of the first to enter the sphere of smart energy solutions based on energy storage, Aggreko is in the forefront of this trend. Uniting, we became a powerful player; the scope of our activities, the available arsenal and the international presence, along with the opportunities for smart energy solutions, will enable us to enter new markets and offer our customers in Russia and the world the electricity received from reliable, cheaper and cleaner sources.
- Does Aggreko manage to prepare employees for its projects, because the company's power plants are becoming more and more worldwide. How is the training of specialists?
- Aggreko has a policy of attracting and training local staff, as well as supporting the population in the regions in which it operates. In Russia, we have a personnel training center in Tyumen, which allows us to conduct full-scale training of new employees, to ensure continuous improvement of knowledge, to strengthen the practice of safe production, to train our employees and our customers' employees in the use of our equipment.
Aggreko is the world's leading supplier of modular and mobile solutions for power, heating and cooling. Aggreko now employs more than 7 300 employees in 200 divisions in 100 countries around the world. In 2016, the company's revenue was about 2,6 billion dollars. Aggreko shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange (AGK.L), and the headquarters are located in Scotland.