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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Renewable Energy Bill Proposed

The government will introduce a bill this spring to create a system of "green" trading certificates to support the growth of renewable energy, an Industry and Energy Ministry official said Wednesday.

Companies that produce renewable energy will get certificates tied to the volume of electricity they sell to the national grid, which they will be able to trade, said Sergei Mikhailov, the deputy head of the Industry and Energy Ministry's energy department. They will also get "top-up" payments to offset the higher costs of renewable energy.

"Such certificates will have a value on the market and that value will grow," Mikhailov said. "We don't exclude taking the Californian example," by setting a nationwide floor for how much electricity has to be generated using renewable sources, he said.

Russia generates just 2.9 percent of its electricity using renewable sources, mainly hydropower and geothermal technology, according to the International Energy Agency. That is the lowest of the Group of Eight countries after Britain. The European Union wants renewable energy to account for 20 percent of its output by 2020.

The government will also collect data on how many renewable-energy producers work in Russia and how much power they generate. The data will help the state deal out "certain subsidies" based on the certificates, Mikhailov said.

"Where there's trading, there are rich Russians with connections making lots of money," said Derek Weaving, a utilities analyst with Renaissance Capital in London.

"Russia wants to be seen doing the right thing, but just putting up prices for fossil fuels to economic levels would have far more impact."