Krasnoyarsk authorities plan to convert all single family homes within the city to electric heating. This is an interim measure as the trunk gas pipeline issue has not yet been resolved. Meanwhile, a preferential rate which will be provided by budget subsidies is promised to the population.
Solving environmental problems of Krasnoyarsk is one of the key challenges the local authorities are facing. A city of one million inhabitants, or one third of the region’s population, is one of the most polluted in Russia. Large industrial enterprises, private and public transport, and stove heating are major contributors to the “black sky” over Krasnoyarsk. Pockets of single family homes, though gradually shrinking, are located in the Nikolaevka, Pokrovka and Suvorovsky districts. There are different estimates of their emissions. They are likely to produce up to a third of emissions in winter, say experts. There is a more modest estimate of 5-7%. In any case, the problem is real. Of course, coal is the prime fuel in stove heating as it is cheaper than firewood though more “toxic.” During the 2019 Winter Universiade, the authorities conducted a social experiment. Fuel coal briquettes that were smokeless and more efficient in terms of heat generation were handed out to home owners. Air measurements showed that air quality had improved. However, it was hardly possible to convince the population to switch to briquette fuel. Again, one of the reasons is that it is expensive. As wek.ru wrote earlier, people await the construction of a gas pipeline and conversion of large enterprises in Krasnoyarsk to natural gas with impatience, including three smoke-belching CHP plants that use local brown coal. The single family home neighborhoods are also included in the project of gas infrastructure development. The only problem is that Gazprom, a global energy company focused on geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and sales of gas, gas condensate and oil, sales of gas as a vehicle fuel, as well as generation and marketing of heat and electric power, has its own agenda. There is yet no clarity about the Power of Siberia-2 project. That is why, while waiting for gas, households have decided to switch to electricity.
An electric boiler is a simple heating tool which is safe in terms of pollution. For some people, it might become the best option. However, there is also a question of money.
“About 15-20 years ago, everyone used electricity to heat everything, from stables, greenhouses to yards. It happened because people stole electricity, to put it simply. They bypassed the electric meters to get as much power as they needed, paying negligible sums. Then the energy industry began to put things in order, conduct raids and catch energy thieves. They issued such big fines that one might have to sell a house to pay them. So, everybody switched over to coal to be on the safe side,” one of the Pokrovka district residents told wek.ru.
Today, people are offered electricity legally. A pilot project was launched in Krasnoyarsk. It includes 100 households where electrical equipment was installed and connected to the grid at a reduced rate. The regional authorities called it “pre- installation of gas.”
“We are ready to provide heating at such tariffs until gas is supplied to Krasnoyarsk. After the experiment that took place during the heating season, it is necessary to discuss the conversion to electric heating with all private households in Krasnoyarsk,” said Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Uss.
According to him, about 15,000 households should be switched to boilers at a fixed rate of 1.5 rubles ($0.021) per kW. In Krasnoyarsk, as all over the country, tariff setting is a complicated and confusing process. For example, daytime and nighttime rates differ. They also depend on the social norm, which increases the cost of electricity by 1.5 times. Of course, when one heats a house, this norm will be exceeded. The authorities promise budget allocations to cover all extra charges. The subsidies are estimated to be worth about 1 billion rubles ($13.67 mln) a year as part of a national project.
Kyzyl, the administrative center of the Tyva Republic faces the problem of the smoky single family home neighborhoods every winter. Its residents are also waiting for the gas services installation. The situation there is even more complicated than in Krasnoyarsk. It could have joined the Power of Siberia-2 if this gas pipeline passed through Altai, but the adjusted route bypassed Tyva. The only option is the development of the regional gas network and the import of compressed natural gas. Acting head of Tyva Vladislav Khovalyg said that there was some progress in the solution to the problem.”
“Gas installation services for Tyva have turned from a dream into an achievable task just in a couple of months. This is the result of my meetings with Alexey Miller. I take this issue very seriously and plan to follow through. I believe that we will succeed in including Tyva in Gazprom Mezhregiongaz's social program of gas infrastructure development,” Khovalyg said. However, he did not elaborate on the progress made. At the same time, Gazprom did not announce that it intended to build the Power of Siberia-2 through Tuva.