According to official data calculated on the basis of current production and consumption levels, Russia holds proven oil reserves for 25 years of supply and proven gas reserves for 70 years of supply, thus making the development of renewable sources of energy an increasingly critical issue. The Energy Strategy of Russia approved by the Regulation of the Russian Federation No. 1715-r dated 13 November 2009 “On energy strategy of Russia for the period until 2030” (Energy Strategy) for the period until 2020 stipulates that one of the main aims for this period is to increase production and consumption of electrical energy using renewable energy sources, including solar power, from 0.5% to 4.5%. However, it should be noted that so far the development of the renewable energy sector is not the primary focus for the Russian Federation as according to the Energy Strategy the development of resources of conventional and traditional hydrocarbons remains central to the Energy Strategy implementation plan.
At present the regulatory framework for the development of photovoltaics in Russia is in its initial stages. The first principal normative acts include Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 426 dated 3 July 2008 "On the qualification of a generating facility operating on renewable energy sources" and Government Regulation No. 1-R dated 8 January 2009 “On the focal points of the state policy in the sphere of improving energy efficiency based on the use of renewables”.
Government support of economic initiatives for promotion of renewable energy, and in particular photovoltaics, has had a decisive effect on the development of the photovoltaic industry. The package of documents approved by the Government of the Russian Federation in May 2013 serves as an example of such support. As part of this package, the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 449 dated 28 May 2013 “On the mechanism for the promotion of renewable energy on the wholesale electricity and capacity market” (as amended) was adopted, as well as changes to the main planks of public policy in the sphere of improving energy efficiency based on the use of renewable energy sources. The decree provides for agreements for the supply of power which allow investors to benefit from regulated prices during certain periods of time. Pursuant to the decree the authorities conduct federal tenders for projects to supply power, and investors, whose project bids are approved, are eligible to enter into such an agreement. The primary purpose of this new legislation is to encourage investors to fund Russian renewable energy projects. However, this approach covers only the wholesale market and applies only to major power plants (with a capacity over 5 MW). In this regard, on 5 February 2015 the new Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 47 “On the stimulation of renewable energy sources usage on retail electricity market” was adopted which offers a similar approach to the earlier decree, but on the retail market.
Initiatives of local authorities are also important for the development of the industry. At present, for example, in the Ulyanovsk region the local authorities are creating Renewable Power Generation Park. This park is intended mainly for production, scientific research and prototype testing of alternative energy sources including solar energy. This is a unique project created mainly through private investment.
The wind power industry of Russia is another example of a fast-growing renewable energy source in Russia. This industry has been steadily growing and the estimated total capacity of wind power stations in Russia is approximately 16.8 MW. Experts estimate the total capacity of wind power stations in Russia could potentially reach 7 GW by 2020. The total capacity of new wind energy projects which have already passed engineering survey stage (or are currently at this stage) is equal to 3 GW.
By 2030, 16 wind power plants (WPP) will be constructed in accordance with the Scheme of territorial planning in the energy sector of Russia until 2030 which was approved by Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation. Most of the WPP will be constructed in the Southern Federal District of the Russian Federation. The Astrakhan WPP has a planned capacity of 100 MW. The estimated date of commissioning of the Astrakhan WPP is 2030. A wind park will be built in the Volgograd region with a capacity of 100 MW in 2025 and an increased capacity of 900 MW by 2030. This wind park is set to become one of the largest in Europe.