Denmark’s Vestas is set to break ground next month on a plant for the manufacture of wind turbine blades in Russia’s Volga region of Ulyanovsk, the local government has claimed. The project will play a central role in Moscow’s plan to localise the production of wind farm equipment.
Addressing an audience at the Wind Power 2018 forum in the city of Ulyanovsk on May 16, governor Sergey Morozov said that Vestas was expected to start construction work before the end of June. The plant is slated for launch in 2019 and will churn out around 300 turbine blades per year. According to Morozov, the project carries an estimated price tag of 2 billion rubles (US$32 million).
The development of wind power in Russia has lagged behind solar, largely owing to the country’s limited capability to produce turbines and other necessary equipment domestically. The government has imposed strict rules on local content, as part of its drive for greater import substitution, preventing developers from acquiring equipment abroad.
Morozov noted that there would be an opportunity to expand the Ulyanovsk plant’s capacity in the future, citing growing demand for blades. Russia is looking to rapidly expand its use of renewable energy, and wind power has dominated project tenders in recent years. In 2016, wind projects with a combined capacity of 610 MW were awarded to VetroOGK, a subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom. And last year, a further 1,650 MW of capacity was handed to VetroOGK, Finland’s Fortum and Italy’s Enel. Under development agreements, these projects should all be operational before the end of 2022.
In Ulyanovsk, Fortum launched trial operations in January at Russia’s first ever wind farm, equipped with a capacity of 35 MW. According to the company, the project was completed at a cost of 5 billion rubles (US$81 million). Fortum secured development rights to six more wind projects in Ulyanovsk with 236 MW of capacity in last year’s auction.
Local authorities claim the region could host up to 1 GW of wind power by 2030. They are hoping to attract over 100 billion rubles (US$1.6 billion) in investment to the sector within the next five years.