Switching to renewables: what will Russia gain?
Purpose – The purpose of the study is to show the technical potentials of a variety of renewable energy sources in Russia, as well as benefits from their deployment including hydrocarbon savings, emission reduction and lower energy cost. Design/methodology/approach – In the paper, Russia is compared with other countries in terms of actual installed capacity and its dynamics, actual and projected share of renewables in the energy mix. The authors offer calculations of the technical potentials (fuel, heat energy, electrical energy, resource saving and environmental) of renewables (solar PV, wind, biomass, geothermal, low-grade heat, small hydro), identify social and economic preconditions and key effects of their deployment. Findings – The paper features calculations on the renewable energy technology potential, based on the data by Andreenko et al. (2015), authors’ calculations and statistical data. This study proves that the cumulative technical potential of the renewables in Russia amounts to 133,935 million units of oil equivalent. This study also offers assessments of oil fuel, black coal and natural gas savings that may be achieved by replacing fossil fuels with renewables; assessments of avoided air pollution calculated as CO- and CO2-equivalents. Originality/value – The paper fills in the gap of comprehensive assessments of renewable energy potentials in Russia and a variety of effects that their deployment may entail, based on a single integral methodology. The authors offer a new evaluation of existing and future renewable energy potentials, overcoming the methodological and data constraints faced by previous similar studies. The up-to-date, comprehensive and accurate data will help make the right investment and policy choices.