|3 Feb 2002 @ 15:56, by Flemming Funch|
There has been talk at the World Economic Forum about linking the Russian and European electricity networks. See article. This kind of thing was something Buckminster Fuller was talking a lot about. There are great advantages in linking the world's electricity networks. In short, the surplusses can be used elsewhere, rather than being thrown away, and cheap energy can become available to areas that couldn't afford it otherwise. See the Global Energy Network Institute.
FORUM-Russian power king eyes linking grid with Europe
NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Russian electricity king Anatoly Chubais said Sunday that a top European energy official shared his dream of a unified power system that would cut costs and save energy by linking grids from Vladivostok to Lisbon.
Chubais, chairman of Russian giant Unified Energy Systems (UES) , also hinted that a strategic investor could soon be found for the state-controlled company, which he said was already profiting from its restructuring.
He spoke to reporters during a break in an energy governors' meeting in the margins of the World Economic Forum, a gathering of the political and business elite.
"The theme of synchronizing Russian and European energy systems was raised a lot," he said.
Synchronization refers to switching to a parallel operational mode, which would allow Russia and Europe instantly to fill gaps in the other's power supplies by selling electricity to each other at times of reduced local need.
Chubais said he had discussed the notion briefly with European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Transport and Energy Loyola de Palacio, whom he said was also at the meeting.
"She is a firm supporter of our idea," said Chubais, who has hinted at ambitious electricity export plans in the past.
Russia and Ukraine have already coordinated their national power grids and the natural monopoly that Chubais runs has agreed to take a similar step with the former Soviet republic of Belarus and Baltic states.
Chubais said the Commonwealth of Independent States electrical energy council would meet in March, and he hoped the former Soviet states would give his plan political backing.
"Then we will go to working groups," he said, but noted, "There are huge technical, juridical and political problems."
Chubais said UES capitalization had doubled in four months.
"But we need more than this...We categorically require direct strategic investment in our power plants, in our power transmission," he said. "We need a strategic investor."
He added, "As things stand today we cannot boast of results. But preparations are ongoing and I hope that this year such a result will be achieved."
Chubais declined to say if anyone had been identified as a potential strategic investor, saying, "It's a bit early."
UES, 52 percent state-owned but one of the Russian market's most liquid stocks, has launched an ambitious reform and restructure plan to win billions of dollars in investment.
The plan aims at forming a grid company, a competitive electricity market and new national generating companies.
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