Federal Grid Company Seeks $30Bln Investment Plan

ST. PETERSBURG — The Federal Grid Company is seeking approval to add 400 billion rubles ($12.9 billion) to its investment program, which would bring its total investment to 919 billion rubles over the next five years.

The company is preparing for an extensive upgrade, in line with the modernization and innovation course set by President Dmitry Medvedev, CEO Oleg Budargin said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. He added that the program still needed approval from the board of directors and the Federal Tariffs Service by Aug. 15.

Within three years, Russia will lay the groundwork for overhauling its energy system, and will launch pilot projects introducing smart-grid technology. “We haven’t missed the smart-grid train yet,” Budargin said, adding that such an upgrade could decrease voltage in the grid by 25 percent, helping to save as much as 35 billion kilowatt-hours of power per year.

A smart grid, a set of technologies allowing electricity to be routed in more optimal ways, is one of the “priority energy issues” in Russia, presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich said at the forum.

The Federal Grid Company also signed memorandums of understanding with Power Machines and with Hyundai Heavy Industries to produce electrical equipment in St. Petersburg, and with U.S.-based Ener1, a company specializing in lithium-ion large-capacity batteries used to smooth out spikes in power consumption.

The agreements are in line with the company's efforts to line up equipment suppliers for reconstruction of Russia’s worn out power infrastructure. About half of the suppliers are expected to be foreign, Budargin said.

“What I heard today indicates that Russia is serious about alternative energy and energy efficiency,” Ener1 CEO Charles Gassenheimer told The Moscow Times, as Budargin was posing in front of the small electric car exhibited in front of a hotel near Nevsky Prospect.

Ener1 is also considering equipping Sochi with infrastructure for electric cars for the 2014 Olympic Games.

See also:

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