ST PETERSBURG, Russia May 26 Russia's Inter RAO
is studying the possibility of building the world's
largest coal-fired power plant to sell electricity to China in a
sign of strengthening economic and political ties between the
Boris Kovalchuk, head of the Russian power monopoly, told
reporters it would examine the cost and timetable required to
build the 8-gigawatt plant, which would use coal from the
Erkovetskaya deposit in the Amur region in Russia's Far East.
The largest coal-fired plant currently is Taiwan's Taichung
with a capacity of about 5.5 GW.
Inter RAO's announcement follows an historic $400-billion
agreement to sell Russian natural gas to China for the next 30
Russia, a leading producer of oil and gas, wants to
diversify its energy exports away from its core European market.
Inter RAO already supplies China with electricity. A
subsidiary, East Energy Company, last year increased electricity
exports to China by 33 percent to 3.5 billion kilowatt-hours.
Kovalchuk, whose father Yury is chairman of Bank Rossiya and
was targeted by the United States in sanctions over Russia's
actions in Ukraine, said that Inter RAO is looking for a loan
from China to build the plant.
Analysts have estimated it would cost about $12 billion to
"If our Chinese partners could make enough of the cheap
money they have available, this would of course improve the
economics of the project," Kovalchuk said.
He said that Chinese company Huaneng, with which Inter RAO
signed a cooperation deal last week, might participate in the
China regularly faces power shortages during peak
consumption periods as a result of surging coal prices and coal
supply bottlenecks as well as transmission capacity limitations.
"We want them to take part in it," Kovalchuk said, adding
that the Chinese badly need electricity from Russia and want to
build plants abroad to help reduce air pollution.
Other Russian companies, including Rushydro and
EuroSibenergo, owned by tycoon Oleg Deripaska, are also
examining boosting supplies to China.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Anastasia Lyrchikova;
editing by Jason Neely)