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Super ring against the Mongolian super desert
With China, a regime transfer is possible, with Japan - net exports
One of the main topics discussed at the Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok on September 2-3 is the Asian energy ring. Russian President Vladimir Putin in his speech outlined the future energy association of the NEA countries as promising. And he instructed the government to create an intergovernmental working group to study the issue.
According to the head of the RF Ministry of Energy Alexandra Novak, We are talking about the development of Russia's energy ties with neighboring countries - South Korea, China, Japan, Mongolia, etc. "Various configurations are being considered, including the purchase of electricity, the construction of power lines, the development of coal deposits with the construction of thermal power plants on the sides of the open-pit mines to provide opportunities for the transfer of electricity between countries with a large population and prospects for increasing energy consumption." “These are issues that require detailed study, because we are talking about the study of intersystem connections, what kind of power lines are needed there, what kind of generation? We have excess capacity in Siberia, and we have some in the Far East. And we need to calculate the balance of supply and demand, respectively, the configuration of intersystem connections will depend on this, ”Novak said at the briefing.
Such projects, in fact, have been discussed before. Thus, the holding company “Rossetti” at the same VEF said that it had conducted a preliminary study of the options for the supply of electricity from Siberia and the Far East to Japan in the amount of 2 GW. According to the head of the company Oleg Budargin, Rosseti, together with its Japanese partner Softbank and other partners, are working on the possibility of implementing a project to export electricity to the NEA countries as part of the creation of an Asian power ring, of which an energy bridge between Russia and Japan can become a part. The project involves the supply of electricity from the Russian Federation to Japan in volumes of up to 2 GW at the initial stage, in the future - up to 5 GW. Variants of organizing both a direct energy route Russia - Japan with points of delivery Sovetskaya Gavan (Khabarovsk Territory) and Sakhalin Island with laying a submarine cable along the bottom of the Sea of Japan, and power transit through the territory of Mongolia and China are being considered. “The parties plan to develop a feasibility study with a comprehensive study and analysis of the technical and economic aspects of the operation of the energy bridge. The results of the work will be presented to the relevant ministries and departments of our countries, ”Budargin said.
Interstate energy networks are a global trend, I'm sure Sergey Podkovalnikov, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Leading Researcher, Head of the Laboratory of Interstate Electric Power Unions, ISEM SB RAS. The whole question is what tasks they will solve.
- There were quite a lot of projects of interstate electric power associations (MGEP). In the 1990, for example, Irkutskenergo was actively working on the Bratsk-Beijing transmission project, which was based on the fact that the Irkutsk region experienced an excess of electricity due to a large-scale production decline. And so the generation could be loaded and sent to China. Negotiations have been going on for many years, various routes were worked through (including one through Mongolia), but as a result, it was not possible to agree. And then the consumption in Russia was restored, the excesses disappeared and, in essence, nothing was transferred.
Then the idea of this energy bridge was transformed, because in northern China, especially in Beijing, another model of electricity consumption was formed. They experienced a summer peak in the load - there it is hot, because of air conditioners, large volumes of consumption began to be fixed in the summer months. By the way, this model of power consumption is typical for countries with a hot climate and a high level of development. And Beijing is the capital, it is ahead of the whole country in the development of the economy, there high standards of life. At us, in Russia, the model of a power consumption winter. And so there was the idea of sharing seasonal excess capacity. But this time it did not work out with the Chinese.
In parallel, other MEO projects were also worked out - for example, the Sakhalin-Japan energy bridge, a transfer from the Far East to northeast China. And gradually, they all took shape in a single concept, called the Asian Energy Ring - the integrated power system of Northeast Asia.
Here it is worth mentioning that the unification of national energy systems with parallel or joint work is, in principle, a global trend. In one way or another, similar processes occur all over the world. There is already a European IEA with the participation of the power systems of Western Europe, Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe, island Britain. There is a unification of the power systems of the USA, Canada and Mexico, and in South America - Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Even the poor countries of that macroregion (Nicaragua, Panama, etc.) form an inter-state energy association. In Africa, the same processes are going on, the ASEAN countries are also doing this ...
There was also an energy association, which included the USSR, the countries of Eastern Europe and Mongolia. And it was then one of the largest in the world. But the disintegration processes at the political level destroyed this system. There remained more or less close ties with Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. As a whole, exchanges of flows between the countries of the near abroad in comparison with the Soviet period decreased approximately four times, and the integration effects also decreased accordingly. It is hoped that with the strengthening of the role of the Customs Union and the EEA, integration in the energy sector will intensify.
So far, we have nothing to boast about. There are weak ties with Mongolia, with the Far East is exporting to China. But the prospects for such an MEO of Northeast Asia (Russia, Mongolia, China, the two Koreas and Japan) are large. Countries that can enter it, one way or another are active.
Here it is necessary to first ask the question - why do neighboring countries even unite their energy systems? The answer is in system effects. There is a savings due to the exchange of excess capacity - both daily and seasonal. That allows to reduce the cost of electricity production. In addition, due to the expansion of intersystem flows, the mode of operation of power plants is improved, and the reliability of the power system for the consumer is increased. For example, in northern China now there are many wind power stations that operate in a probabilistic mode of operation - that is, they can make large energy emissions in the network, and when there is no wind, they stand idle and do not give anything out. Such work needs competent regulation. In addition, in that region of China there are no large hydropower plants, namely, they are a good regulator - to save energy in the reservoir, and then release it. And we have such stations. In some cases, exporting can also be effective. For example, in Japan, the generation of electricity is very expensive, and therefore exports from Russia - through energy bridges with Sakhalin - are quite the way out.
In Mongolia, the GobiTEK project is being developed - on the order of 100 GW of solar and wind power in the desert. These are very large volumes, Mongolia does not need them, it has all the power capacity - 1 GW. Therefore, they are aimed at exporting clean energy in all possible areas: China, Russia, Korea, and up to Japan. Such a project in itself is unlikely to be possible, but within the framework of the IER of Northeast Asia, it has chances for implementation. Because within the framework of such a merger, it will be possible to remove the problem of uneven energy output, which is characteristic of RES generation. And Mongolia itself through this project would have received an alternative to hydroelectric projects in the Selenga basin.
Thus, in the framework of the Asian energy ring, the relations between Russia and Mongolia appear to be regime regimes. The Mongols have enough of their own generation, especially in the central power hub, they have no peak capacities. As for Japan, it is more profitable to export electricity from Russia. With China and South Korea, the implementation of systemic effects is effective - they have a summer maximum load, we have a winter maximum in the Far East and in Siberia. In addition, China’s own generation is cheap, and therefore all our projects of large thermal power plants or hydroelectric power plants that are focused exclusively on exports “hang up” (look at the fate of the Erkovetskaya Thermal Power Plant, for example). The Chinese demand that the cost of the tariff at the point of delivery at the border should be no more than 5-6 cents, which means that export generation and transmission lines for two to three thousand kilometers can hardly pay off.