Continuing with this piece from VZGLIAD, written by Olga Samofalova. Yesterday we discussed the fact that the Crimean peninsula, now under administrative jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, needs to build a brand new electric energy grid, almost from scratch. To do this, they need massive turbines. Problem: American sanctions forbid the sale of such heavy machinery and infrastructure to Russia. One recalls that the Americans were visibly upset when Crimea broke away from the Ukraine and returned to Russia. They (=the Americans) had been licking their chops, counting their chickens, and performing various other metaphors while planning to build a NATO naval base at Sebastopol and install Anti-Ballistic Missile installations just 3 kilometers away from Russia’s border. And then, much to their consternation, the quivering booty was ripped out of their slavering jaws practically at the 11th hour.
Lashing out against all these allegories, the Americans imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Not just in ineffectual rage, but also some kind of desperate hope that Russia would cave and hand back the prize. Nations like Germany might have preferred to just whistle a little tune, carry on as usual, and continue selling equipment to the Russians. But, let’s face it, Germany is not a sovereign nation, and never has been, not since their defeat in World War II. Economically, politically, and militarily, Germany is a vassal of the United States. When the piper plays his little tune, the Germans have to dance. I know that’s blunt talk, but somebody had to come out and say it.
In the case of the turbines, however, the crafty Krauts were able to find a loophole. Through a third party distributor, the Siemens AG company, whose motto is “Ingenuity For Life”, was able to sell 4 of the massive turbines, model SGT5-2000E, to Russia. Two of these pieces have already been delivered to the Crimean peninsula. These babies can handle a load of 168 Megawatts apiece. And, by the way, I think I had a factual error in my post of yesterday when I wrote that: Russia is currently building two electricity stations for Crimea, each of which can produce 940 megawatts.
A closer reading seems to imply (although I am still not 100% sure) that the 940 megawatts is the total of what both stations will produce, not apiece. I derive this from translating Olga’s third paragraph which gets into the numbers; and not having a degree in electrical engineering, I am not 100% sure if the turbines run in series and that therefore the wattage is just added up. Perhaps I should just give a straight translation of this paragraph and let my engineeringly savvy readers figure it out:
Российские компании серийно производят только турбины для электростанций малой мощности. Например, мощность газовой турбины ГТЭ-25П составляет 25 МВт. Но современные электростанции достигают мощности 400–450 МВт (как и в Крыму), и им нужны более мощные турбины – 160–290 МВт. Поставленная в Севастополь турбина имеет как раз нужную мощность 168 МВт. Россия вынуждена находить способы обойти западные санкции, чтобы выполнить программу по обеспечению энергетической безопасности Крымского полуострова.
Russian companies serially produce turbines only for small-capacity electrostations. For example, the capacity of the gas tubine ГТЭ-25П comprises 25 Megawatts. But contemporary electrostations reach capacities of 400-450 MW (as in the Crimea), and they need more powerful turbines, of 160-290 MW. The turbine that was delivered to Sebastopol has precisely the needed capacity of 168 MW. Russia needs to find ways to elude Western sanctions, in order to fulfill its program of providing electricity (independence and) security to the Crimean peninsula.
END OF TRANSLATION
In conclusion, everybody knows that the Germans always produce good products, especially machinery. But, Olga asks, why can’t Russia produce stuff like this? Why are Russian turbines so puny? Olga’s plaint seems valid.
Well, there is no surprise here, it all has to do with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic decline. By the beginning of the 2000’s the Russian heavy machine industry was almost on the point of extinction, just like the dinosaurs! Later, when things picked up a bit, a massive program began of building electric-energy stations. The demand on Russian machine-building factories was heavy. But here is where reality took a fork in what many consider to be the wrong direction: Instead of rebuilding its own heavy-machinery industry, Russia took the other fork in the yellow-brick road: Paying out good cash to purchase a ready-made product from the West.
On paper this sounds reasonable: If one needs a bicycle, why waste time and money re-inventing the bicycle? Why not just buy a bicycle from abroad? Since the bicycle has already been perfected and is fully made, and ready to be purchased. And thus began the habit of purchasing fully manufactured gas turbines from Western companies such as Siemens and General Electric. And indeed, this totally makes economic sense. In a perfect world, an international division of labor would be ideal – let each nation produce that which it is good at….
Until war rears its ugly head and these Western companies are forced, for political reasons, to withdraw their “precious” from an already-dependent consumer.
[to be continued]