Russia’s Energy Policy – Business As Usual

The population of the Russian Federation is approximately 145.93 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this country located in eastern Europe and northern Asia had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Russia’s economy was ranked 11th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of oil, natural gas, precious metals, and military equipment.

In 2016, Russia signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to a 25% to 30% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990 levels[4]. In 2016, Russia ranked 4th in the world in energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

In 2016, Russia’s state-owned utility used natural gas (46%), renewable energy (19%), coal (18%), and nuclear energy (17%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower is the dominant source of renewable energy in Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has been openly skeptical of the science supporting global warming and climate change. However, the development of renewable energy for domestic power allows Russia to maximize the country’s export of oil and natural gas.

Russian companies RusHydro and Hevel have recently completed the construction of a floating solar plant on the Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant, located in Amur Oblast in far eastern region of the country.  The 52.5 kW capacity floating solar plant generates electricity to run the 320 MW hydropower plant.

RusHydro is a hydroelectric company that operates the Nizhne-Bureyskaya hydropower plant. Hevel, headquartered in Moscow manufactures high-tech solar modules. The company also builds and operates solar power projects.

Russia has enormous undeveloped renewable energy resources, including wind, hydropower, geothermal and solar. President Putin may dismiss the science behind climate change, but he does recognize that no type of fossil fuel is renewable and even Russia’s vast oil and natural gas reserves will one day be depleted.

Russia’s development of renewable energy projects has little to do with the country’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. The development of renewable energy in Russia is driven by the economics of preserving the country’s most valuable assets, oil and natural gas.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Russia Population (2020) –  October 7, 2020

[2] Russia – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] Russia Electric Power Generation & Transmission Overview, February 18, 2017

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