There have been rumors of Google, Microsoft, and others going to Siberia for data centers. The Economist writes on the Russia's hydroelectric industry.
A clean-power colossus hopes to grow even bigger
MANY investors believe there is gold in greenery. They see a sunny future for firms that generate power from solar panels, wind turbines and so forth. After all, their fuel is free, whereas the bills of power stations that run on coal and natural gas are high and rising. And ever more countries are making “renewables” even more attractive through subsidies or taxes on grubbier fuels. So what is the world’s biggest listed renewable-power firm, in the vanguard of this trend?
The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is RusHydro, a partly state-owned company that owns most of Russia’s hydroelectric plants. Its capacity, of 25 gigawatts (GW), makes it the largest power-generation firm in Russia, the world’s fourth-biggest market for electricity. (Hydro-Québec, a firm owned by a Canadian provincial government, generates more power but is not listed.)
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Hydropower produces about 15% of the world’s electricity, compared with 3% for other renewables. There is still lots of room for growth, anti-dam activists permitting. New Energy Finance, a research firm, reckons that less than one-third of the world’s potential capacity has been developed. Much of the unused part is in Russia, RusHydro says. It has 5GW of new capacity under construction and more than 20GW on the drawing board—enough to double production.