The current state of Russian electricity consumption, based on our forecast model that leverages actual data from the first eleven months of 2023 and the projected data for the final month, exhibits a significant dependence on fossil fuels. Specifically, fossil fuels account for more than 63% of the total, with gas making up more than 45% and coal, approximately 16%. It is, however, noteworthy that low-carbon energy contributes around 37% with nuclear energy supplying almost half of the low-carbon total and hydropower, slightly less than half. The reliance on fossil fuels over clean energy is still palpable in the Russian sector, although the contribution of low-carbon sources, primarily nuclear and hydro, cannot be written off.
To stimulate a shift towards clean energy and tip the scale, Russia could consider the expansion of existing nuclear production plants, harnessing lessons from countries with successful models. France and Slovakia, for example, have managed to drive their low-carbon electricity generation to 66% and 61% respectively, with nuclear energy forming the bedrock of this success. They reveal that an aggressive pursuit of nuclear energy, coupled with a sustainable model, can significantly increase low-carbon electricity generation. Equally, the Finnish model, generating 42% of electricity from nuclear power, could provide useful insights for Russia's low-carbon electricity roadmap.
Diving into the historical narrative of low-carbon electricity in Russia, the late 1980s marked significant strides on the nuclear energy front with a notable increase of 19.5 TWh in 1987 and 10.1 TWh in 1988. This positive trend was unfortunately reversed in the early 90s, with a dip of 18 TWh in 1990 and a sharper decline of 21.4 TWh by 1994. This evolution highlights the uncertainties and challenges that characterised the nuclear energy sector during that period. The new millennium ushered in a resurgence of nuclear and hydropower electricity generation, with peak increases observed in 2004 (hydro: 20.1 TWh) and 2015 (nuclear: 14.7 TWh). The most recent data, however, indicates a concerning slump in hydropower in 2022 and nuclear in 2023, underlining the crucial need for strategic interventions to revitalize Russia's low-carbon electricity generation landscape.