Conventional Power Generation
Much of the conventional fuel produced in Russia is burned to produce electric power. The Unified Electric Power System operates Russia's electric power plants through seventy-two regional power distribution companies. The power system consists of 600 thermal generating systems, more than 100 hydroelectric plants, and Russia's nine nuclear plants. Of the total rated generating capacity of 205 gigawatts, only about 188 gigawatts were available as of 1996. In 1995 Russia's power plants generated a total of 846 million kilowatt-hours, compared with 859 million kilowatt-hours in 1994. Generation for the first quarter of 1996 (normally the peak demand period of the year) was 268 million kilowatt-hours.
In 1993 natural gas provided 42 percent of electricity production; hydroelectric plants, 19 percent; coal, 18 percent; nuclear power, 13 percent; and other sources such as solar and geothermal plants, 8 percent. Natural gas and coal are burned at thermoelectric plants, which produce only electricity, and at cogeneration plants, which produce electricity and heat for urban centers. The largest hydroelectric plants are located on the Volga, Kama, Ob', Yenisey, and Angara rivers, where large reservoirs were built in massive Soviet energy projects. Thermoelectric and hydroelectric plants--located in Siberia because of available fuels and water power--send power to European Russia through a system of high-voltage transmission lines.
Consumption of electric power divides into the following categories: industrial, 61 percent; residential, 11 percent; the services sector, 11 percent; transportation, 9 percent; and agriculture, 8 percent. Regional energy commissions control the price of electricity.