MOSCOW (Reuters) - The launch of a new power plant in Crimea will be delayed beyond the end of this year, a Russian deputy energy minister said on Thursday, a potential blow for a region dogged by power shortages since Moscow annexed it from Ukraine in 2014.
The plant, with a capacity of up to 120 megawatts, is meant to cover a shortfall of electricity until two other bigger plants in Crimea come online and had been due to launch next month in the town of Saki.
“I see that there will be no such plant by December,” the deputy minister, Andrey Cherezov, told reporters. “As a result, there may be penalty fines or ... we could even cancel the agreement with them (the construction company).”
He did not say when the power station would be ready.
Earlier this year Russia announced a tender for the small-capacity plant to provide power on the Crimean peninsula until two major power plants, in the cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol, can be launched next May.
The tender was won by a local company, Krimtec or Crimea power plant, which planned to use turbines produced in Russia.
Krimtec has not yet signed a contract for the supply of the equipment, although the producer, a unit of Russia’s state conglomerate Rostec, has prepared four turbines with a capacity of 25 megawatts each, Cherezov said.
He added that the construction of the power plants in Simferopol and Sevastopol by state firm Technopromexport was on track.
Reuters was the first to report this year that Russian firms had shipped Siemens turbines to Crimea for the Simferopol and Sevastopol plants. Crimea has been subject to EU sanctions on energy technology since Russia took control of the region.
Reporting by Anastasia Lyrchikova; Writing by Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Gareth Jones