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Interview

with Liliya Rakitina, Chair of Board of Directors of Bristol Group of Companies, Bristol Group

12.03.2013 / Energyboardroom

More than a regular construction company, Bristol Group of Companies has also acquired considerable experience in the areas of energy and power. Can you briefly introduce the company to the readers, and elaborate on its fit within the Russian power landscape?
The Bristol Group of Companies is a very modern company built on solid foundations. Both our technologies and people are of great quality. Today, we have the capacity to build and put into use different kinds of energy facilities up to 600 MW.
We have been working in this field for more than ten years already, during which we have completed over 300 projects in 40 regions of the Russian Federation.
Our projects consist of both the planning and construction of constant supply power and mini-heat facilities, as well as diesel generation facilities for backup generation.
One of the main areas we focus on is the development of small scale power in different regions of the Russian Federation. There are several regions where large scale power cannot be used; in such areas small scale power comes into play.
It is important to note that small scale power in no way is meant to substitute large scale facilities. Every niche plays its own role and large scale power will always remain important with a share of 70 to 80 percent. Both industries can work in parallel.
I often hear –especially in some European countries– that small scale power can replace large scale facilities. This, however, cannot be the case in the Russian Federation. In those places where we cannot use centralized power supply, small heat and power facilities can be used.
Bristol Group of Companies looks at large and small scale power as two areas that can work on a partnering basis to develop our territory and support the country’s economic growth.

Do the large scale power generation companies have the same perspective? Is there mutual consent towards this partnering approach among the different players in the Russian Federation?
Whereas every case is different, I do believe that there is a common understanding within the industry on the mutual tasks of its different actors.

In certain countries, the share of small scale power in total generation is significant: 10 percent in the USA, 25 percent in Germany … In the Russian Federation, however, this share currently stands at 1.5 percent of total generation. What do you see as a realistic balance for the future?
Personally, I see great potential to further develop small scale power facilities in the Russian Federation. In my opinion, the share of this niche could potentially reach up to 20 or 30 percent. While it is difficult to pinpoint an exact timeframe, in my best estimate this could already be the case by 2020.

You previously mentioned that certain regions in the Russian Federation are more attractive than others for small scale generation. Can you elaborate on the regions that better qualify for these types of projects today, and how you integrate said ‘regional differences’ within your strategy?
The Bristol Group of Companies actively works with different authorities of several regions. In some of these regions we have already signed cooperation agreements to develop small scale generation. Of the 83 regions within the Russian Federation, we have identified roughly 25 to 30 –where the grids are not yet centralized– to be particularly attractive.

You have recently been in talks with the State Duma –most notably with Ivan Grachev, Chairman of the Committee for Energy– on policies around the concept of energy efficiency. From an industry point of view, how are you now looking at the implementation of projects around energy efficiency? From your experience, do you feel that the right economics are in place for the industry to invest in this area?
The first steps to increase energy efficiency have been taken and several laws have now been drafted. We must still develop these further, which will be the task of government officials such as Mr. Grachev as well as Mr. Novak, the Minister of Energy. I am of the opinion that the government has taken great steps to improve energy efficiency in our country. From an industry point of view, however, the implementation will once again vary from industry to industry and from company to company.
At Bristol Group of Companies, we have our own investment department which aims to attract investors from within Russia as well as from abroad. Overall, I do believe that most companies are satisfied with the steps taken by the government, who has done all they could to move forward in this area.

The President of the Russian Federation has made it clear that the country needs modernization, that investments in infrastructure are needed and that the energy mix needs to be diversified; all this in order to advance the life standards of the Russian citizens. What role do you see Bristol Group of Companies playing to support the nation in these ambitions?
All of the different areas that Bristol Group of Companies operates in contribute to improving the lives of the Russian citizens. We build infrastructure, general facilities and energy complexes, which all help to develop the economic potential of the Russian Federation.

A lot of these developments will require significant investments in the future. Is it clear where these investments will come from and what role the different stakeholders –government, Russian companies, foreign companies…– will play?
There are many different alternatives to develop such investment plans. Yesterday, for instance, I was present at the All Russian Building Assembly, where an agreement was signed with the French Company EDF Fenice. This company is ready to invest roughly EUR 200 million in Russia by 2013-2014.
The task of Bristol Group of Companies is to implement different ‘general projects’ to attract all the investments that these foreign partners are willing to make into the Russian Federation, in order to develop our country as a whole as well as the energy sector in particular.

Would you like to add a final message?
I would like to invite all readers to pay attention to Russia and at the great city of Moscow. I invite them to look at a country that is improving every day under the great leadership of our President. I hope to see many more Russian-foreign partnerships in the future as well as more investments in both directions.

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