Christmas falls on January 7th in the Russian Orthodox calendar. According to tradition, Father Frost brings children presents with the help of Babushka, a friendly old woman who distributes the gifts.
It was on Christmas Eve in 1936 that the first 50-MW turbogenerator of the Sredneuralskaya thermal power plant (in the Sverdlovsk region) started operations. Today the plant, which is owned by Enel Russia, stands as a ‘living’ account of the history of thermal generation technology in the Urals.
Initially a coal-fired plant, it was later converted to natural gas and renovated with extensive work to automate thermal processes. It was the year 1962 when Sredneuralskaya GRES (a Russian acronym for thermal power plant) was connected via a 26-kilometre pipeline to the city of Ekaterinburg. The length of the pipeline, which was one of a kind in the 60’s, earned the plant recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records. More importantly, the infrastructure improved energy supply to local companies and homes, eliminating the need for hundreds of small solid fuel boilers.
During its 80 years of existence Sredneuralskaya GRES has generated over 380 billion kWh of electricity. Today the plant has an installed capacity of 1,656.5 MW, guaranteed by new 419 MW combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT), installed by Enel in 2011.
We acquired the plant in 2007, after Russia privatised its energy production. Today we own and operate four power plants, with over 9 GW of gross installed capacity. Therefore, in addition to Sredneuralskaya GRES’s eightieth birthday, in December we also celebrated the 45-year anniversary of the largest thermal power plant in the region, Reftinskaya GRES.
Situated in the Urals, 80 kilometres from Yekaterinburg, Reftinskaya GRES provides electricity and heat to the Sverdlovsk region and over the course of 45 years it has produced 850 billion kWh. Today the plant has a gross installed capacity of 3,800 MW, consisting in six 300 MW and four 500 MW unit.
In order to ensure the plant’s maximum environmental compatibility, we are implementing a rigorous programme to update its technologies and make the system more sustainable. In 2015 the facilities underwent extensive renovation and modernisation, through the installation of filters to reduce and practically eliminate ash emissions into the atmosphere. Moreover, last summer an innovative Dry Ash Removal System was completed and implemented, enabling a significant reduction of water usage, which will enable us to continue to use the existing water sources – thereby safeguarding the surrounding land
Since 2007 we have been transferring our thermoelectric know-how to the Ural region and to Russia in general. The goal is to increase the efficiency and sustainability of heat and energy production through innovation and by constantly monitoring environmental conditions; thus ensuring a long life-cycle for power plants, which are key to the development of local communities and the production of safe energy.