Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Geothermal Country Notes
Russia has a significant geothermal resource. Thermal waters of 100-120°C have been identified in several areas of the Federation: Kaliningrad, the Northern Caucasus (Alpine and Platform provinces), Western Siberia, Lake Baikal, the Russian Far East, Sakhalin, Chutotka and, most significantly, in Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands where the thermal water reaches 300°C. It has been estimated that the high-temperature resources defined to date in the Kamchatka Peninsula could ultimately support generation of 2 000 MWe.
The country's energy sector has long been based on fossil fuels and the exploitation of hydroelectric and nuclear power, and the contribution from geothermal energy represents less than 1%. Considering the Federation's vast area and also the logistics of fuel transportation, the use of geothermal heat for power generation could be particularly important in the northern and eastern regions. However, the main thrust of Russian geothermal utilisation has been, and continues to be, for direct purposes.
The first plant using geothermal energy for power generation in Kamchatka was commissioned at Pauzhetka in 1966. It was a 5 MWe single-flash unit which was enlarged to 11 MWe in 1980; in 1998 a 4 MWe plant was commissioned at Mutnovsky, followed in 1999 by an additional 8 MWe - all single-flash units. 2002 saw the commissioning of a 50 MWe plant at Verkhne Mutnovsky. The islands of Kunashir and Iturup in the Kuril group have small units of 2.6 MWe and 3.4 MWe. In 2005, total installed capacity thus stood at 79 MWe.
It has been reported that development is under way for a 6.5 MWe binary unit at Verkhne Mutnovsky, a 100 MWe unit at Mutnovsky, a 50 MWe unit in the Kaliningrad region and a 4 MWe unit in the Stavropol region.
The end-2005 estimate for total installed capacity for direct use amounted to more than 307 MWt (excluding heat pumps, known to exist in the Kamchatka region), of which 52% was used for greenhouse heating, 36% for heat supply, 8% for industrial processes and 1% each for cattle and fish farming, drying of agricultural products, and swimming pools and baths.
There is much scope for the installation of heat pumps in Russia, but their use is presently at an early stage of development.