American turbines of the Akademicheskaya CHPP and Nizhneturinskaya State District Power Plant were left without maintenance
Generating companies report growing problems when servicing foreign-made equipment. Market participants are already seriously considering extreme scenarios involving the shutdown of power units equipped with turbines and generators from Western manufacturers.
In particular, the management of T Plus announced this possibility to the publication, and today the company estimates the remaining resource of the fleet at approximately two to three years. Power engineers admit that they were only able to find analogues for related equipment, while they virtually no longer had the ability to service the combined cycle gas plants themselves. Among the available tools to somehow extend the service life of machines, experts cite a resource-saving mechanism, but it will not solve the global problem and will create an additional burden on consumers when volumes increase. Now two Sverdlovsk T Plus stations are at risk, including the Akademicheskaya CHPP, which supplies a significant part of Yekaterinburg with heat and electricity. In total, several large power units with an installed capacity of about 2 GW are operating in the Ural Federal District using American units, and all of them are in a tangible risk zone.
PJSC T Plus is considering shutdown scenarios for power units operating on equipment produced by companies from Germany and the USA. The head of the Sverdlovsk branch of the company, Pavel Rodin, told Pravda UrFO. Such a need may arise as a last resort if it is impossible to carry out a technical inspection on time.
“All Western-made equipment is at risk for all companies. In some parts we are looking for analogues among domestic equipment; this is a continuous process. There are analogues for auxiliary equipment; we understand when, what to change and what to replace. Regarding gas turbines, we looked at all possible development options, including simply stopping them. We are ready for these options and will be able to provide heat supply in the cities where we operate even without CCGT units: at each station there are hot water boilers and boiler rooms. Of course, this is an extreme option, but it must be kept in mind. For now we are planning that we will carry out technical inspections and obtain the necessary materials. The deadline for them is 2025-2026 – a period sufficient to resolve these issues,” explained Pavel Rodin.
In the Sverdlovsk region, T Plus PJSC owns two large stations that use foreign equipment.
For example, a gas turbine from the French company Alstom (owned by the American General Electric) was installed at the Akademicheskaya CHPP in Yekaterinburg. The installed capacity of the power plant is 228 MW, thermal capacity is 391 Gcal/hour. The power unit provides thermal and electrical energy to several districts of Yekaterinburg: Academichesky, South-West, South of Center and UC.
The second similar T Plus facility in the region is the Nizhneturinskaya State District Power Plant, where two power units operate on Alstom gas turbines with a capacity of 230 MW each. The station, like the Akademicheskaya CHPP, was built as part of the CSA program to update generating capacities and improve the reliability of the cities of Nizhnyaya Tura and Lesnoy (ZATO Rosatom). In addition to them, American machines operate at Surgutskaya GRES-2 (Unipro, 800 MW), Sredneuralskaya GRES (EL5-Energo, 277 MW), Chelyabinsk GRES (Fortum, 247.5 MW) and Chelyabinsk CHPP-1 ( “Fortum”, 42 MW).
Let us recall that in 2022, the German Siemens announced its departure from Russia, which caused difficulties with servicing numerous turbines of this manufacturer. In turn, General Electric continued to provide services to Russian companies. Thus, the Americans even signed a three-year service contract with T Plus, but already in the summer of 2023, after another package of sanctions, the United States stopped any ties with the Russian market.
However, experts believe that the likelihood of the blocks actually stopping is low. Institute of Energy and Finance analyst Sergei Kondratyev believes that generators are unlikely to be able to agree on a new conditional CSA to replace equipment, and a shutdown means a loss of revenue.
“I think that stopping access to the monitoring system is not critical; a problem may arise if the supply of original spare parts is actually stopped – in the case of individual turbines, it may be difficult to buy spare parts through parallel imports. More likely, I think, will be reverse engineering and an attempt to maintain functionality through repairs “for as long as possible.” But it is quite difficult to say what will happen in reality. I would not rule out attempts by generators to negotiate with the System Operator to save resources – in this case, they will continue to receive payments under CSA with minimal participation on the DAM. But in fact, this is an additional burden on consumers,” says the analyst.
Let us recall that the resource saving mechanism was developed by the Russian government last fall to partially solve the problem of servicing foreign power units. It implies that generating companies can put problematic power units into reserve, provided that this does not create an unrecoverable deficit in a particular energy region.
Every month, market participants submit applications to the System Operator for the withdrawal of approximately 10 GW of power, but the dispatcher, as a rule, approves about 4 GW, and in the UES of the Urals the withdrawn capacity does not exceed 400 MW. Until recently, such a mechanism was relevant mainly for Siemens turbines, but in mid-2023, demand for “resource saving” also appeared among owners of General Electric equipment.