On the macroeconomic situation
Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref: Last week we summed up the results for national economic development as a whole, for gross domestic product growth. GDP grew by 7.9 percent over the first quarter. GDP growth for the same period last year was 5 percent, and so we have a net increase of 2.9 percent.
The average month-on-month increase last year was 0 percent in the first quarter, but this year, the average monthly increase, clear of seasonal and calendar factors, comes to 0.6 percent.
On the general programme for the construction of electrical energy facilities
Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko: In accordance with your instructions, we have drawn up a general programme for building electrical energy facilities through to 2020, and the government has examined it. The economic basis for this programme was the government decision of November 30 last year, which set out a long-term forecast of electricity consumption needs. It also set out the development outlook for the electricity and gas markets, including with regards to price formation. These forecasts provide us with the basic parameters that we have used as a foundation for drawing up what are essentially engineering objectives in order to optimise the construction and location choice of generating facilities, and to optimise and develop a reliable network topography for the period through to 2020.
This is an unprecedented programme and is the first such long-term plan in our modern history for building facilities for as important a sector as electricity production.
We worked at regional level with all the country’s regions in drawing up this programme, in order to analyse the demand for electricity in different parts of the country. We took into account basic increase in electricity consumption and also major plans and projects that would see the creation of new consumers.
At the same time, this long-term optimisation of the electricity production sector is based on the principle that construction of new generating capacity should be based primarily on the development possibilities offered by nuclear, hydro- and coal-based energy, while scaling back the amount of gas-based fuel.
The work we have done will enable us to reduce the amount of gas-based generation from the current 43 percent to 35 percent of electricity production. Coal-based electricity production will see its share rise from 23 percent today to 31 percent, while nuclear energy-based production will increase from 16 percent to 20 percent. The capacity of nuclear power plants will increase 2.3-fold over the period through to 2020. Coal-based production capacity will increase 1.7-fold, hydroelectricity generation capacity will increase by 47 percent, while gas-based generation will rise by 41 percent.
What is particularly important is that over this same period we plan to make radical changes to the network’s topography, enabling us to reliably link the generating capacity in Siberia with the Urals and the central regions, and create reliable new links between the northwest, the central regions and the Urals, and between the southern regions, the central regions and the Urals.
We also plan to develop two new energy belts, one around Moscow and one around St Petersburg. This will ensure the national energy system’s reliable functioning and will make it possible for us to meet national electricity consumption needs through our own generation capacity.
Finally, regarding the programme’s content, I want to say that the whole general plan is based on the latest technology in order not just to increase production capacity but also to make it more effective.
To give you one example, today we have gas-based generation with a useful working coefficient of 39 percent, but by 2020, the remaining gas-based generation facilities will have an average useful working coefficient of 54 percent (on average throughout the sector). The best result obtained today in gas-based generation is a useful working coefficient of 58 percent.
The government has decided that by September 1, work will be completed to link the basic plan for electricity production facility construction with the development plans for the transport sector and also the gas sector, so as to ensure that other infrastructure development projects help contribute to the development of electricity production.
Vladimir Putin: The adoption of new provisions on tariffs has made these decisions possible?
Viktor Khristenko: That is exactly the case: the decisions on tariffs, on long-term construction in the electricity market, and on gas liberalisation, since this was one of the key points incorporated into the model for creating normal economic conditions for developing non-gas-based generation and developing the other types of electricity production.
Vladimir Putin: I hope that this is all also linked to the programmes for developing the different regions, for developing industry, new mining and extraction operations and the creation of new industrial facilities in the processing and manufacturing sectors?
Viktor Khristenko: The plan is definitely linked to the development programmes for the different regions, and they have given rise to new objectives that are already being taken into account. In connection with the programme for developing the Far East, it is possible that some adjustments will have to be made to the general plan over this period, so as to ensure all the necessary conditions for the facilities that we plan to commission as part of these new programmes over this period.
On preparing for the Russia-EU summit and the meeting of the Russia-NATO Council
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: I am going to Luxemburg today for another meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia and the European Troika.
We will be looking at what we have accomplished over the six months since the last meeting, above all regarding preparations for the Russia-European Union summit next month in Samara.
We also plan to sign a memorandum extending the scope of the agreements concluded between Russia and the EU to Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in January this year. This memorandum will regulate issues concerning the future development of trade and economic relations between Russia and these two countries in their new capacity.
I will also be going to Oslo this Thursday to attend a ministerial meeting of the Russia-NATO Council, which will look at current cooperation issues, including the implementation of our joint counterterrorism plan and other joint projects.
Both in Luxemburg and Oslo the Europeans will be particularly interested in the situation regarding U.S. plans to deploy elements of their missile defence system in Europe. They have already said that they would like to hear our assessment of the bilateral contacts currently taking place between us and Washington, and which so far have failed to answer all of our concerns. This worries the Europeans because they want to have a clear understanding of all the aspects of this situation, given that this matter is one that concerns their security in the long term.
I will report on the results and present the proposals for future steps to prepare for the Russia-EU summit and on development of relations with NATO.