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EuroSibEnergo to establish a Center for Research on the Impact of Global Climate Change on Eastern Siberia and Lake Baikal

EuroSibEnergo, Russia's largest private power company, has announced its plan to establish a Center for Research on the Impact of Global Climate Change on Eastern Siberia and Lake Baikal. The announcement was made by the Company's CEO Vyacheslav Solomin at a conference entitled "Hydropower in Eastern Siberia Amid Global Climate Change" and timed to coincide with the World Water Day.

The conference was held simultaneously at venues in Moscow, Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk and was attended by representatives of the Federal Water Resources Agency, the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring and specialized institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences, ecologists and senior executives of most of Siberian hydroelectric power plants.

At present, the water level in Lake Baikal is anomalously low: for two consecutive years, water inflow has totaled less than two thirds of the normal amount due to a sharp decrease in the water level in major rivers flowing into the lake, including the Selenga River, and to a considerable reduction in precipitation in the drainage basin of Lake Baikal. The water level in Lake Baikal has fallen below the minimum set by the Government of Russia for the second consecutive year.

This has resulted in a decrease in the flow of water from Lake Baikal into the Angara River, the only river flowing out of the lake. By orders of the Federal Water Resources Agency, the volume of water flow from Lake Baikal through the dam of the Irkutskaya HPP on the Angara River has been reduced to the minimum level required for safe operation of water intake facilities in towns and cities along the Angara River, whose population totals about half a million people. As a result of the decrease in the volume of water flow, HPPs forming part of the Angara cascade have reduced the output of cheap electricity (in 2015, the reduction at EuroSibEnergo's HPPs on the Angara River totaled 11 TWh), which has been compensated for by more expensive electricity generated by coal-fired power plants. This has resulted in a 25% increase in wholesale electricity prices in Siberia.

The Center for Research on the Impact of Global Climate Change on Eastern Siberia and Lake Baikal together with leading specialized institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences and international research organizations will implement a set of research projects to identify the causes of the current low water level in Lake Baikal and the factors contributing to it. The outcome of the projects will consist in the development of methods and mathematical models for long-term forecasting of the volume of water inflow into Lake Baikal.

In 2014 and 2015, a large number of countries and regions were faced with the problem of water shortage caused by global climate change: for instance, in California, continued drought forced HPPs to halve their electricity output; in Brazil, hydropower generation declined by about 25%; in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Vietnam, a large number of HPPs have been shut down due to shortage of water.

"The work of the Center should enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the current climate change processes and the connection between climatic events in various parts of the globe. EuroSibEnergo is willing to invest in scientific research; we are convinced that the outcome of the Center's efforts will have relevance not only for the Company but also for the scientific community, the government and the business," commented Vyacheslav Solomin, CEO of EuroSibEnergo.

 

Press service of JSC EuroSibEnergo

March 22, 2016
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