SUAL Group, Hydro Aluminium and JSC HydroOGK have signed a memorandum of understanding on energy provision, which could see a new aluminium smelter in Far East Russia being served by hydro power plants.

JSC HydroOGK is currently assessing various construction projects, and the list of potential sources of power supply includes Bureyskaya, Nizhnezeiskaya and Nizhnebureyskaya hydro plants, along with plants integrated within the Hydro Generation Complex in the South Yakutia region.

The annual demand of the smelter with a rated capacity of 600k tones/yr of primary aluminium is estimated at around 9BKWh, which is more than 20% of the current cumulative output of the Far East power grid. One of the key factors in the successful implementation of any smelter construction project is the availability of a long-term contract for power supply. If the parties can agree on joint project implementation, further negotiations will proceed and all necessary legal and administrative arrangements will follow.

The potential capacity of hydro generation facilities in Far East Russia is estimated at some 294BKWh/yr; however, less than 4 % of this is currently used. The construction of new hydro plants in the region will ensure full-scale and long-term supply of economically viable electric power for the Primorsky, Khabarovsky and Amur Regions, and will partially replace the expensive electricity from Far East cogeneration plants.