Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Putin Takes a Stand Against Wind Power

I have always thought of the Prime Minister as Hydrocarbon Man.
Back in 2007 the Guardian published "Putin, the Kremlin power struggle and the $40bn fortune" which stated:
...In an interview with the Guardian, Belkovsky repeated his claims that Putin owns vast holdings in three Russian oil and gas companies, concealed behind a "non-transparent network of offshore trusts".

Putin "effectively" controls 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia's third biggest oil producer, worth $20bn, he says. He also owns 4.5% of Gazprom, and "at least 75%" of Gunvor, a mysterious Swiss-based oil trader, founded by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of the president's, Belkovsky alleges....
This led to a letter to the editor the next day, from Gunvor's CEO. "Putin owns no part of Gunvor". which categorically denied that Vlad had any interest in the trader.

Last Thursday the Financial Times published "Oil trading group Gunvor denies Putin links":
Gunvor, a Switzerland-based oil trading company, has been dragged into the growing WikiLeaks scandal after diplomatic cables released by the website discussed “rumours” that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, had had a relationship with it.

Russia’s press on Thursday treated the cables with caution, and Mr Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed them as “rubbish”. In an interview with CNN’s Larry King this week, Mr Putin said the WikiLeaks cables represented “no catastrophe” to Russia and, with a characteristic conspiratorial air, added that the WikiLeaks scandal could have been orchestrated for “political purposes”.
A cable from September 2008 describes the trading group handling “massive volumes” of Russian oil, adding: “This trade was resulting in reportedly very large profits for Gunvor and its secretive ownership, which is rumoured to include prime minister Putin.”...MORE
Setting Gunvor aside, both of the oil and gas companies are down considerably from their YE '07 market caps: 4 1/2% of Gazprom is worth around $6 billion while 37% of Surgutneftegaz clocks in at $12 1/2 bil.
Still a nice pile.
Here's the headline story from Reuters:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that wind power can pose environmental risks, casting doubts over plans to develop this alternative energy source in the oil-rich country.
Putin, who has overseen all major energy deals Russia made in recent years, is keen for the country to maintain its role as a major oil and gas producer. He has repeatedly expressed his skepticism about alternative energy.

"Windmills, which are so widespread in many European countries seem to be an environmentally friendly kind (of energy), but in fact they kill birds," Putin told a conference of his United Russia party in the Far East.
"Vibration there is such that worms come out of the ground, not to mention moles. This is a real environmental problem," he said, adding that solar energy was the only alternative source that was entirely harmless.
Renewable energy accounts for only 1 percent of all power generated in Russia, but under a plan backed by President Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's partner in Russia's ruling tandem, this share should grow to 4.5 percent by 2020.

Germany's Siemens plans to create a joint venture with Russian power firm RusHydro and state holding firm Russian Technologies to develop windmill parks able to produce 5 gigawatts by 2020.
Atomenergomash, a unit of state nuclear power holding Rosatom, announced similar plans and said the company was looking for an international partner, estimating the potential share of wind in Russian power generation at 5 to 10 percent.

Atomenergomash said wind power generation would become profitable in Russia after the government introduced incentives for producers....MORE
Although I found nothing on the moles and worms here's a previously secret indication of Mr. P's ornithological bent:

putin bird