EBRD funds use of forestry waste to heat remote Siberian settlements

By Richard Wallis

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Remote settlements in Siberia will use sawdust and other waste from the timber industry to provide communal heating for their inhabitants as part of an innovative scheme to cut pollution and save money being financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District.

The EBRD is providing 1.3 billion roubles (the equivalent of €29 million) under a 13-year loan for an overhaul of the district heating system in the area’s small municipalities. The aim is to get rid of inefficient diesel and oil-fired generators.

Part of these will be replaced by combined heat and power plant which use biomass fuel, others by combined heat and power boilers fired by both gas and associated gas, the latter of which is at present largely being flared in the district’s many oilfields.

The loan will also cover the cost of building a factory to produce pellets and briquettes to feed these biomass-fired heat and power plants, using forestry waste cast off by local timber companies, especially sawdust. This will reduce the costs of both electricity and heat production.

The plan, to be implemented by the Yugra Territorial Energy Company (YUTEK), also foresees tapping heat recovery techniques to increase fuel efficiency. This includes feeding into the district heating system the waste heat produced by the engines and turbines generating electricity at YUTEK’s power plants.

This is yet another pioneering project undertaken by our partners in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District which aims to provide quality heating at affordable prices for people living in remote areas, said the EBRD’s Business Group Director for Infrastructure, Thomas Maier.

The EBRD sees this as an energy-efficient model which other local government bodies in Russia can copy in order to put district heating on a sustainable basis and at the same time contribute to a cleaner environment, Mr. Maier added.

A YUTEK feasibility study with the assistance of international consultants paid by the government of Japan worked out a priority investment programme to be implemented in a total of 14 settlements. This is the sixth municipal infrastructure project the EBRD has signed in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District.

The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District in Western Siberia has a population of 1.5 million, a quarter of which lives in small settlements which are not connected to the centralised systems used to supply heat and electricity in large parts of Russia.

Although its population accounts for less than one percent of that of the whole of Russia, the district produces 60 percent of Russian oil.

The borrower is Open Joint Stock Company YUTEK and the loan will be backed by a financial guarantee issued by the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District, which wholly owns YUTEK.

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