Renewable technologies

Interview with Vladimir Chuprov, Head of the Greenpeace Russia Energy Department

The next question, obvious question, is how to shift the nuclear power, what can help cover this 15% of power, nuclear generation provided globally. There is an answer. This is renewable and energy efficiency. A lot of people think that it is not possible, as renewable technologies are not well-developed, they need a lot of territory but this is a 20-40-years-old thought, because new technologies have already overcome these technical and technological obstacles.

Just a very good example: Germany, they removed about 30% of the nuclear fleet of Germany, what is about 5 or 7% of national electricity production of Germany, and that didn’t bring Germany to black out or any other problem with the power production.

Moreover today there was a statement from the BB Company, which is in charge of lobbying renewables, and they say that by 2020 in 10 years for sure they could provide 47% of power in German national market. So it is absolutely possible.

At the moment the proportion of renewable and nuclear is 17 and 23%, which means the renewable is already there, and Germany does not have big territories for wind or solar power production, it is a leader of this renewable sector. 50%, half of the world market is presented by Germany, which very clearly shows that in such countries, in small countries, relatively small countries like Germany, it is possible to reach quite big figures and cover power consumption from the renewables. 17% – they already have now, and 47%, half of power production – in 10 years. So this is a question of political will, this is not a question of technological or other problems.

According to a poll, 70-80%, the overwhelming majority of the population, is against neighboring with new nuclear reactors. But at the same time what we see from the debate in these days around the Japanese tragedy, 50% of people still think that nuclear is the only way to get energy security. We talked with a lot of experts, with people from the Ministry of Energy for example, they even do not know obvious things, like wind parks which could be hundreds, thousands MW already exist, they still think that wind turbines are very minor, very small, very  countryside site providing power for computers.

But it was 20 years ago, it was 30 years ago. Now China every 80 hours builds the same capacity of wind turbines that the whole Russia has totally, about 12MW, which means that China has already understood the future is renewables, it is not the nuclear. In China’s programs renewables is a priority.

According to the plans about 5 times of new capacity should come from wind energy, not nuclear for example. And this is the situation. Another figure which is shocking sometimes and Russian experts do not know these figures unfortunately: 50% of the newly installed capacity globally is from renewables, for power sector, the total investments into renewable power sector are bigger than coal, gas, nuclear together. $140 billion vs. $120 billion.

So this is the future, we are already there. Another figure people do not usually know, even experts: this is a share of nuclear power in total primary energy production: it is 5%. All these catastrophes are all around this cost, this 5%.

Are we referring to the global figure?

This is the global figure, 5%, for primary energy; for power is about 15%, it is higher. But if nuclear people say that we save oil, then – ok, let us calculate with oil. Oil does not produce power, and talking about the total production, heat and transport fuel, then we have only 5%, which is almost nothing.

Thank you very much!

Just to remind you, this time our guest was Vladimir Chuprov, Head of the Greenpeace Russia Energy Department.

To find out more on the issue, read or listen to our Burning Point program from March 18, 2011 in Radio section. 

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