Gazprombank, a private bank owned by Russian gas monopoly Gazprom and its pension fund Gazfond, will provide 40bn Russian roubles ($541m) in financing for 340MW in wind farm projects to be built by VetroSGC-2, a renewable energy unit of nuclear giant Rosatom.

Gazprom’s bank will provide the financing as a 12-year loan, and also enter the project company VetroOGK-2’s ownership with a 49.5% stake, while Rosatom will remain its majority shareholder.

The bank has already been financing Rosatom’s first 660MW in wind power capacity since 2017, 360MW of which have already been commissioned, Russian wind power association Rosatom said.

“Together with the VetroOGK project already under way, the total volume of Rosatom’s green capacity financed by the Bank has reached 1GW worth over RUB100bn ($1.25bn),” Gazprombank’s deputy chairman Alexei Belous said.

Rosatom recently has started operations at Russia’s largest wind farm, the 210MW Kochubeevskaya project.

The nuclear giant is among a trio of developers active in Russia’s fledgling wind market, as the vast, gas-rich nation seeks to spur 5.4GW of renewable energy capacity by 2024, more than 3GW from wind. Rosatom alone expects to commission 1.2GW of that.

Wind and nuclear

“We strive to maximise the green energy share, consistent with the goals of sustainable development, in our portfolio,” said Kirill Komarov, deputy director general for corporate development and international business at Rosatom, adding that his company considers both wind and nuclear power to be “green activities” due to their minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

“The deal with Gazprombank is a great experience for us and a confirmation of our strategic approaches to doing business.”

Gazprom, Europe’s largest producer of natural gas, next to financing wind power via its bank, though its Gazprom Neft unit has started a timid renewable energy programme itself. It includes the construction of a 102MW wind project in Plandište, Serbia, and running a test hybrid wind-solar array in Russia’s Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug region since 2017.

Russia’s wind sector currently is still waiting for a new support scheme for wind and other renewables for the post 2024-period. Moscow is said to be considering changes to the world’s biggest country’s current support scheme that would hike local content requirements even further, but also bring the system more into line with other mechanisms globally.

Russia last year added 713MW in new wind farms, bringing its cumulative capacity to 905MW, according to WindEurope.

The US in 2014 has slapped sanctions on Gazprombank. The bank according to media reports through its media holdings has links to former soviet secret service KGB.