Russia wind tender stalls on content

The first stage of Russia’s 1.6GW tender to build wind projects in 2015-2018 ended with only one bidder applying to develop a single 51MW wind farm, as strict local-content rules scared off participants.

The Russian-Czech developer Alten – a unit of the Czech investment fund Falcon Capital – was the sole taker for the supply deals on offer.

Construction and commissioning is due in 2015, while at the end of 2017 the company has plans for an additional 150MW.

Alten will get capacity-based supply agreements guaranteeing an 14% return over 15 years.

Plans for Russia's emerging wind-power market are dependent on local-content rules set out in the country's federal energy law.

Supporters of wind power have urged the authorities to relax the regulations if they are to have any chance of attracting significant developer investment.

"Other investors probably did not participate because of strict requirements for localisation of equipment production – 55% [of content] in 2015 and 65% in 2016-2018," said Maxim Gridasov, CEO of the Russian Wind Energy Association (RWEA).

"Unfortunately, no one has been able to meet the current requirements or has been able to make an offer for a Russian project," added Gridasov.

Patrick Willems, project manager for the IFC's Russia Renewable Energy Programme – part of the World Bank Group – told Recharge in a previous interview that he was "not optimistic'' about the country's wind energy market, since "by setting high local-content requirements, they believe production will come to Russia, but that is unlikely to happen".

The latest tender related to the so-called “wholesale” market for projects above 25MW.

Russia has said it may run a separate tender for projects below that capacity, with less-demanding content rules – though it is still unclear if this will take place.