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    Russia Mulls Switching 1GW Coal Plant to Gas


The plant's electricity is earmarked for the Chinese market.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Russia Mulls Switching 1GW Coal Plant to Gas

Russia has considering converting a major power plant project in the Far East to run on natural gas rather than coal, its state-owned operator Inter RAO said on February 28.

Plans for the Yerkovetskaya thermal power plant (TPP) in the Amur region bordering China have been revised multiple times since the project was first conceived in 2009. Inter RAO originally intended to build a 8-GW station at a cost of $20-25bn in order to export 30-50 million MWh per year of electricity to Chinese consumers.

The plant's planned capacity was later halved to 4 GW and the project was then shelved in 2015 after Inter RAO was unable to agree on power prices with its Chinese partners.

Inter RAO reportedly resumed financing talks with Russia's VEB and the China Development Bank in 2018, but the plant's output was lowered again to just 1 GW. The project is yet to secure offtake contracts for its power from Chinese buyers, nor reach financial close.

"The fuel for this project has not been fully determined," Inter RAO's head of strategy and investment Alexei Maslov said in a conference call on February 28. "Various options are being considered, including a tie-in to the Power of Siberia gas pipeline."

Power of Siberia was launched at the start of December, delivering piped Russian gas to China for the first time. The pipeline extends across 3,000 km of Eastern Siberia before entering China via Amur.

In a similar move, state companies in Poland recently decided to switch the 1-GW Ostroleka power project, which had been expected to be the last coal-fired power plant to be built in the country, to run on gas instead.