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Decarbonizing Russia: Leapfrogging from Fossil Fuel to Hydrogen


We examine a different approach to complete the decarbonization of the Russian economy in a world where climate policy increasingly requires the radical reduction of emissions wherever possible. We propose an energy system that can supply solar and wind-generated electricity to fulfill demand and which accounts for intermittency problems. This is instead of the common approach of planning for expensive carbon capture and storage, and a massive increase in energy efficiency and, therefore, a drastic reduction in energy use per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Coupled with this massive increase in alternative energy, we also propose using excess electricity to generate green hydrogen. Hydrogen technology can function as storage for future electricity needs or for potential fuel use. Importantly, green hydrogen can potentially be used as a replacement export for Russia’s current fossil fuel exports. The analysis was carried out using the highly detailed modeling framework, the High-Resolution Renewable Energy System for Russia (HIRES-RUS) representative energy system. The modeling showed that there are a number of feasible combinations of wind and solar power generation coupled with green hydrogen production to achieve 100% decarbonization of the Russian economy.

Funding source: Michael Brody and Oleg Lugovoy carried out research for this article with the support of the RANEPA state assignment research programme. Alexander Golub and Vladimir Potashnikov carried out research for this article with the support of the Russian Science Foundation, project No. 21-18-00126.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Russian Federation

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