Tasked with the mission to provide a secure, reliable, and economically efficient energy supply in Belarus, the ᾮBelenergoᾯ State Production Association (SPA Belenergo) manages the economic activity of the Belarussian electricity system. With over 65.000 employees, SPA Belenergo is comprised of comprises 30 business units, including six regional utility companies, construction and installation companies, infrastructure production companies, repair and commissioning companies and research & development institutes. The Belarusian energy system is a complex set of power plants, boiler houses, electrical and heating systems which are interrelated in a common mode of operation throughout the country. The installed capacity of the Belarusian energy system is 10.073,3 MW, out of which 9.113,6 MW are produced by Belenergo through its 42 thermal power plants, with an electric capacity of 9.016,3 MW (including 25 hydroelectric power plants with a capacity of 88,3 MW, and the Novogrudok wind power station with a capacity of 9 MW). Highlighting the company’s focus continuous improvement and innovative development in terms of generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric and thermal energy in the country, Director General Evgeny Voronov, discusses current projects, governmental programs, investment opportunities and future plans.
European Times: What are Belenergo’s main activities and what are the major projects implemented since its establishment in 2006?
Evgeny Voronov: Belenergo’s core areas of activities include: management of the Belarusian energy system; generation, transmission and distribution of electric and thermal energy; maintenance of power plants, electrical grid and heat network; operational dispatch management of the power generation and supply process; technical supervision of power stations and network facilities of the Belarusian energy system; and organization of works to ensure balanced development of the power system (including energy demand forecasting, designing, investment, and construction of energy facilities). Additionally, the Association incorporates construction organizations, repair and adjustment enterprises, and a number of plants performing work mainly for energy companies.
In the past decade, we were focused on implementing the two main State Programs (2006-2010 and 2011-2015) for modernization of the main energy generation facilities. The Programs, initiated by the Council of Ministers and approved by the President, were financed both from the state budges as well as credit funds. Their main aim was increasing the energy security of the country, as well as improving the efficiency and the diversification of the energy resources. We launched 1908 MW of effective and modern power generating units of combined cycle (steam-gas), which enabled us to significantly decrease the amounts of fuel used for generating heating and electric energy. The existing structure and ratio of condensation and cogeneration capacities installed at the Belarusian power plants provides the most efficient use of fuel, resulting in one of the lowest specific fuel consumption for electricity and heat generation among the CIS countries.
European Times: Which are the most successful companies operating in the Belarusian energy sector?
Evgeny Voronov: The most successful companies operating within the energy sector are the six regional power system enterprises and several others. These include enterprises such as Belenergostroy, which constructs the energy facilities; Centrenergomontage, which conducts the installation of heat engineering equipment (steam generators, turbogenerators, pipelines, vessels); Electrocentermontage, which conducts the installation of electrotechnical equipment (generators, conductors, transformers, electrical substations); Belremenergonaladka, Belelectromontagenaladka, which handle the adjustments of the energy equipment; Belnipienergoprom, which designs power sources and heat networks; Belenergosetyproekt, which designs transmission lines, cable lines and electrical substations; and the Scientific Research and Project Republican Unitary Enterprise BelTEI, which handles the automated measuring and information systems of the electric and heat power consumption.
European Times: What makes the Belarusian energy sector attractive to foreign investors?
Evgeny Voronov: In the frames of the projects implemented under the two State Programs, we cooperated with the best producers of energy equipment on global level, including Alstom (now General Electrics), Siemens, ABB, Mitsubishi, Schneider Electric, ETRA, Virtela, Fortum, and numerous other companies. Cooperation with foreign investors was also established in the renewable sources of energy sector.
There is excellent cooperation with foreign companies in terms of energy facilities construction. For instance, the company Riko from Slovenia is involved with the reconstructs and building of substations in the city of Minsk; currently they are reconstructing the 750 kV substationᾯBelarusianᾯ. In 2009, we built a new energy unit of the Thermal Power Station Minsk TEC-3 using equipment from Alstom (now General Electrics) and SES Energy from Slovakia. In 2012, we put into operation a 399 MW combined-cycle unit on the Minsk TEC-5 with the gas turbine produced by Mitsubishi. In 2014, we launched the two largest combined-cycle energy units in Belarus and a 65 MW combined-cycle unit in Borisov, all equipped by Siemens. This year, we launched a 35 MW combined-cycle unit in Gomel using Mitsubishi equipment. Furthermore, the automatic protection relay systems are almost 100% produced by Siemens and Schneider Electric, whereas the vacuum and electric switches are 100% products of Siemens and ABB. We are dedicated to modernising and installing the latest equipment and security systems, as well as to attracting the top foreign experts in the sector. Nearly 50% of the tenders of Belenergosnabcomplekt, the Production and Processing Equipment Agency, are won by international companies. Moreover, we are cooperating closely with international organisations and we adhere to the highest international standards.
We are working on numerous projects which require attracting FDI. For example, we are planning on attracting FDI for the construction of Hydro power plants in the Grdoneskiy and Vitebskiy region. Moreover, a new law which will separate the production and distribution of energy, and which will enable penetration in the wholesale and retail markets in EU and EAEC, is currently being prepared.
European Times: What is your personal message?
Evgeny Voronov: The electrical energy sector is the most vividly developing sector in the country. Among the CIS countries, Belarus is the best performing country in the sector based on indicators such as security, reliability, economic efficiency, safety, qualified personnel, adhering to international standards etc. Our efforts and dedication, aimed at improvement, modernization and further development of power companies, allow to ensure stable operation of the industry and reliable and uninterrupted supply of energy to the consumers, as well as to increase export potential of the country.