Energy accumulated by lowland marshes

Unique electric station of the future for Bereza District’s reserved areas
By Sergey Sokolov

Sporovsky Reserve, one of Polesie’s largest lowland marshes, is truly unique in Central Europe (regarding its area and natural preservation). It has recently been chosen as a venue for a major ecology-energy project, whose successful realisation would significantly contribute to the matters of energy saving and ecological revival. Moreover, its experience could be duplicated across other Belarusian reserved areas. A photo-electric station is supposed to create an ‘impulsive flare’ for the promising future, and the facility’s construction is to start this year on Sporovsky’s territory.

The reserve covers areas of the Bereza, Drogichin, Ivanovo and Ivatsevichi districts but the station is to be built in the Bereza District (20km from the district centre); its photo-batteries would be able to transform solar light into direct current. The idea is somewhat symbolic as, in the late 1950s, the largest electric station (exceeding the total power of all existing Belarusian electric plants) was established near Bereza. The new facility has no such goals, but nobody knows what might happen in the future. In modern days, the weather is extremely capricious and, in several decades time, solar energy would probably join nuclear power as one of the dominant Belarusian energy sources. 

“The new station is a part of our promising project,” explains Sporovsky’s Director, Vadim Protasevich. “We also plan to build an educational centre focusing on biological resources and alternative energy.” Actually, the Sporovsky facility is a training centre in itself. Apart from generating additional electric energy, it would accumulate economic nuances of similar projects. “Our present calculations indicate that a 100kW station would produce around Br30m of monthly profit, which would be further used to solve the nature protection problems of Sporovsky and other reserves in the region,” adds Mr. Protasevich.

Apart from heading the reserve, Mr. Protasevich also chairs the local Brest Region Reserves ecological fund, which has signed an agreement with the Global Environment Fund’s Small Grants Programme to finance the project (worth $243,000). Construction terms are impressive. At the moment, the facility exists on paper only but its launch is planned for late 2014.

No doubt, solar energy is a promising branch and, with this in mind, solar electric stations are planned for the Smorgon and Shchuchin districts. In addition, solar energy is already generated at some Belorusneft fuel stations: in Silichi, Gomel and Ivanovo and a photo-electric station already operates at the Belarusian Gas Processing Plant.
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