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October 13, 2022

Meeting of the Electric Power Innovation Club on the topic: Innovations in the Sanctions Era

KEY CONCLUSIONS 

Russia can achieve technological sovereignty in the electricity sector

“Technological sovereignty is the ability to achieve our goals regardless of external conditions, i.e. it is not complete isolation. <...> Technological sovereignty is possible through cooperation and partnerships with other manufacturers,” Elena Medvedeva, Director of the Department for Operational Control and Management in the Electric Power Industry of the Ministry of Energy of Russia. 

“At the end of 2021, we purchased only 6.5% of our final products from abroad. It is clear that the volumes or the devices and equipment that we bought abroad will not be able to be produced in our plants and factories in the near future just because it is a small amount and we certainly will not allow production to do business on it,” Andrey Mayorov, Member of the Board, First Deputy General Director – Chief Engineer, Rosseti. 

“We already have some sovereignty over servicing imported gas turbines. <...> We have already started helping some of our colleagues from another area... to commission imported equipment from where our import partners left off. This allows us to be more flexible,” Denis Ulanov, Deputy General Director for Production and Construction – Chief Engineer, T Plus. 

PROBLEMS 

Risks of using innovative technologies 

“The consumer of the products is always interested not... in innovation, because anything unexplored is a risk for them. <...> We are a key industry which ensures the security of the whole country. We cannot afford risky experiments or any brand-new equipment at our facilities. <...> Now the technologies that were actively used in the Russian fuel and energy complex have often become inaccessible, not only technologies that allow us to create new fuel and energy facilities but also technologies that allowed us to ensure safe and reliable operation of those assets that ensured production, electricity generation, transmission and delivery of energy to end consumers,” Evgeny Grabchak, Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation. 

“If we start reducing the energy supply through innovation, you will not praise us. <...> We need to look at the complex story. <...> If we are innovating, we need to let something go, for example rates. <...> In addition, state companies do not share innovation,” Roman Berdnikov, First Deputy General Director, Member of the Management Board, RusHydro.
 
“Difficult times: the planning horizon has shrunk, while innovation is about the future,” Mikhail Khardikov, Head of Energy Business, En+ Group; General Director, Eurosibenergo.

SOLUTIONS 

Stable consumption, new partners and human resources are needed to foster innovation in the Russian fuel and energy sector 

“We need to look for... partners and production of those components we depend on in friendly countries instead of unfriendly ones. <...> For friendship to be permanent, we must always keep some key technology on which our partner will depend, and thereby retain those friendships that allow us to retain technological sovereignty,” Elena Medvedeva, Director of the Department for Operational Control and Management in the Electric Power Industry of the Ministry of Energy of Russia.

“We need to understand what we have in industry and find the real potential to know what we can produce and to avoid going around asking whether we can produce it or not,” Roman Berdnikov, First Deputy General Director, Member of the Management Board, RusHydro. 

“Innovation must consist of several parts. <...> First and foremost is the foundation. We need a foundation for innovation. If we are talking about the electricity sector, as I see it, the most important foundation in the electricity sector is stable consumption. <...> We have no choice, as electric utilities, except not just to forecast demand, but probably to create and drive the points of new consumption. The traditional sectors of the economy are facing very serious sanction pressure, very serious problems with sales. <...> It is necessary to look at promising new industries and create conditions for them and attract them. <...> The drivers of innovation are people. <...> We need to develop the prestige of the engineering profession. <...> It is necessary that people want to go into the energy sector. We need to invent and motivate young people. <...> We are not talking about multibillion-dollar support. The economy is big. If we used to say that there is a global world, competition for minds, now the competition between regions and industries begins,” Mikhail Khardikov, Head of Energy Business, En+ Group; General Director, Eurosibenergo. 

For more information, visit the Roscongress Foundation’s Information and Analytical System roscongress.org  and the official Forum website rusenergyweek.com.