President Vladimir Putin:
Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to meet with you all here today for the occasion that has brought you all to St Petersburg. In 2000, I was present at the inauguration of the first unit of the Northwest Thermal Power Plant, and now that the second unit has been commissioned, the tasks set by the partners, namely RAO Unified Energy Systems, its partners and the city authorities, will be resolved even more efficiently. This goes above all for the provision of electricity and heating to St Petersburg’s Primorsky District, and to resolving electricity and heating supply problems in the northwest region in general.
I would like to congratulate you on the unit’s inauguration and I now give the floor to [RAO UES head] Anatoly Borisovich Chubais. I hope that you will all share your thoughts afterwards on the event that has brought us here today.
Anatoly Chubais: Thank you very much, Vladimir Vladimirovich, and thank you for your congratulations.
I just want to remind you that not only were you present for the first unit’s inauguration, but when you were still working in St Petersburg you signed the first instructions on beginning the plant’s construction.
Steam-gas cycle technology is the most modern kind of technology there is, and, as we have said at meetings with you, it is set to become our main technology. In this respect, this project is an example of the future.
As you just rightly pointed out, this plant will provide not only electricity but also heating. A heating transport network has been built in the city, almost 12 kilometres, two threads, and this is the heating supply route that will take us through the winter. We realise that the commissioning of this new plant here in St Petersburg, guarantees that we will not have problems here this winter.
Our Italian partners also contributed to this work. Italian company Enel won a tender several years ago to manage the Northwest Thermal Power Plant and Pier Luigi Bersani, Italy’s minister of industrial development, is here today. If you will allow, perhaps he could now say a few words.
Vladimir Putin (concluding remarks):
Over the last year, year-and-a-half, I have heard only criticism from regional leaders about the energy companies, including RAO UES. Today we have a rare chance to see that despite the problems – and we still have many problems to resolve – we can achieve the goals we set. This is an important project for St Petersburg.
At the same time, however, I would also like to note that one of our main goals, our principle economic objective, is to double the size of our economy, double our GDP. In order to do this in a decade, we need to increase our power-generating capacity 1.5-fold over ten years. This has been said many times in the past, and we have also spoken about how the generating capacity shortage is already holding back our economic development. We need to start building new power stations, modernise the ones we already have and develop the grid infrastructure. I will speak about this in more detail now.
As I have said, the Russian economy needs to make a real leap forward in increasing its use of nuclear and hydro-energy resources and also coal for producing electricity. In this respect, Siberia offers extensive possibilities. But insufficiently developed electricity transmission lines managed by different agencies and their low throughput capacity constitute an obstacle to transmitting electricity from resource-rich Siberia to regions facing energy shortages. We need to link these disparate electricity systems together and in this respect we need to seriously consider the possibility of building constant current transmission lines to carry peak power from Siberia to the Urals and even further into European Russia.
These objectives require major investment. As you know, the relevant decisions have already been made. We will continue with the planned transformations in the electricity sector. We will continue with the planned reforms. This is a process that is being implemented carefully and with thorough consideration. RAO UES has already made adjustments to these plans in order to take into account the real situation in our economy, and the government has approved these adjustments.
We hope that both private and state investment will be raised for these transformations. State investment is already planned and it is considerable in size. I think that, and indeed I, and the energy sector officials, know that the state has not made such a lot of money available to the sector in a very long time. But this will still not be enough. The key issue here is to ensure a clear and transparent pricing policy on the electricity and gas markets, and it is therefore important to act rapidly to remove price distortions on the domestic electricity market.
In the coming days, the government is to present to me an action programme in this area. We have already discussed this in detail and these matters are now in the process of being finalised. This will send a clear signal to all participants in the market as to how to plan their work over the coming years and decades.
In conclusion, I would once again like to underscore the significance of today’s event. The launch of this second unit marks the beginning of the implementation of a major programme to modernise Russia’s generating capacity. This is extremely important, including in order to confirm Russia’s role as one of the leaders on the world energy market.
I would like to express our support for our Italian colleagues. It is very important that we cooperate not only in extracting and supplying energy resources to the markets of our traditional partners in Europe. It is also very important for us to develop our cooperation in high-technology areas, in machine-building for the energy sector, in nuclear energy and in all the areas in which advanced technology is used in the energy sector. Our cooperation will develop and I am sure that it will be successful.
I would like once again to congratulate you all on today’s occasion and to wish you success.