Kerstin Eiwen: You recently attended a trade fair in Russia. What was it all about?
Tobias Weghorn: Exactly, I was at the 3rd World Smart Energy Summit Russia; for the first time, Next Kraftwerke was represented there as a VPP partner of the event. In a total of six panels on the topics Digitalization, Distributed Energy, Industrial Energy, Energy and Utilities, Smart Cities and Buildings and Energy Tech Hub, the fair was primarily aimed at players in the Russian energy market, including network operators, energy suppliers, plant operators, and service providers.
Kerstin: How is Russia positioned in regards to renewable energies?
Tobias: Renewable energies still play a subordinate role in Russia. Although Russia promotes solar plants and wind farms, and wind in particular has great potential for the country, even if capacities are to be increased to 2.4 GW by 2019 and to 9 GW by 2035, this plays a rather minor role compared to the share of energy generated from conventional sources, especially and above all gas. And although plants for generating electricity from renewable sources are locally decentralized, they are not economically decentralized - large plants are predominantly built by large utilities.
One reason why the Russian energy sector is still highly exciting is that demand side management projects are gaining ground in Russia. Unlike in Germany, for example, these are not being created as a reaction to the volatility of renewable energies, but with the aim of ensuring greater efficiency in the generation system. Partly obsolete and inefficient gas-fired power plants that only serve peak generation - i.e. run when electricity consumption is extremely high - can ultimately be taken off the grid through intelligent demand side management, which saves costs and also reduces emissions.