Wind farms expected to change usual landscape
By Sergey Yevgeniev
We currently lag behind western countries in terms of wind power, although we have plenty of opportunities to develop this area. The main stimulus to developing alternative energy is the fact that Belarus has only small deposits of energy resources. The lion’s share of hydrocarbons must be imported, with prices ever rising. Being in a similar situation, Germany, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Italy and other EU states are focusing on developing alternative sources. At present, these countries lead in this direction, generating around a quarter of their electricity via renewable sources. Specialists believe that we could also occupy a strong position in this niche.
Vladimir Nistyuk, the Executive Director of the Renewable Energy Association, believes that Belarus could generate up to 30 percent of its energy via renewable sources. Unlike most EU states, building density in Belarus is modest, so there are more sites on which to install stations and powerful wind farms. Over 1,840 sites are already earmarked as suitable.
Despite this huge potential, Belarusian private business is yet to be convinced of the viability of investments into wind energy. Few wind-power units are operational, with most used for scientific and demonstrational purposes; a handful generate energy for the common network. However, Mogilev’s Tycoon firm plans to build a wind farm and small solar station near the regional centre, planning to earn additional profit.
“For a long time, we’ve been making calculations; the results unanimously show that it’s profitable to generate electricity from renewable energy sources, supplying it to the electric network,” notes Dmitry Shevchuk, a founder of the private enterprise. “Our calculations were also proven in practice, once we installed the first small capacity wind-power unit. As a result, we’ve decided to construct a whole wind farm and have already purchased some of the equipment.”
The state buys electricity from renewable sources at enhanced tariffs, which should attract injections. Any company can purchase a wind-power unit and receive income from selling the generated electricity.
Whether our landscapes will soon be graced with wind turbines, as seen across most developed countries, depends largely on whether we create economic stimuli for investors. Most foreign companies wishing to become engaged in wind power engineering begin with small projects. Only after their successful implementation, are more serious injections considered. If pilot projects prove profitable, investors will grow confident of gaining a return on their investments and serious wind power should appear in Belarus.