Sakhalin to become carbon neutral by 2025

Sakhalin Governor Valery Limarenko (left). Photo: Dmitrii Shcherbakov, Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Dec 15, 2021, Pan Pacific Agency. Russia’s Sakhalin region intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, Valery Limarenko, the region’s governor, said, presenting the climate program at the “Center for Strategic Research” in Moscow.

Sakhalin is the first Russian region to announce its own climate plans. In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions on Sakhalin was 12.33 million tons, and absorption – 11.07 million tons. The regional govt needed to find an answer to the question of how to reduce emissions to zero in just four years. It doesn’t make it easy that about 600 thousand tons will be added to 1.2 million tons of emissions by 2025 – due to the creation of new industrial enterprises. Russia intends to become carbon neutral by 2060, so, Sakhalin’s plans look extremely ambitious.

The climate strategy assumes that the existing business will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 460 thousand tons by 2025, and the measures of the authorities – by 1.2 million tons. In 2022-2025, Sakhalin plans to introduce a system of quotas for greenhouse gas emissions for enterprises and launch a carbon trading system.

The authorities expect to achieve the greatest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, by 517 thousand tons at once, through the renewable energy facilities: solar, wind, tidal and geothermal stations with a total capacity of 300 MW. The subsidiary company of the state corporation Rosatom will build power facilities with a capacity of 200 MW, and the Eastern Mining Company will build a wind power plant with a capacity of 67 MW. The former will be used for the production of “blue” hydrogen, the latter for the extraction of export “green” coal. According to preliminary plans, by 2024 Sakhalin will produce at least 30 thousand tons of “blue” hydrogen from methane, in the future it is possible to expand the production capacity to 100 thousand tons.

100% gasification of Sakhalin can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 429 thousand tons. The transferring to gas 145 boiler houses, now working on coal, gasification more than 37 thousand houses and 150 enterprises will help to achieve this goal. “It is clear that dragging a pipe all over the Far East is madness. We will provide gasification using liquefied natural gas also. I think we will be able to provide LNG not only for Sakhalin, but also for Kamchatka and Chukotka too,” the governor said.

Another 115 thousand tons of emissions can be reduced if the energy efficiency in municipal utilities is increased, another 134 thousand tons – if separate collection of waste is introduced and recycling begins. By replacing 50% of vehicles with internal combustion engines for vehicles powered by electricity or natural gas, the authorities will reduce emissions by another 18 thousand tons. “Electric and hybrid public transport is already operating on Sakhalin. In 2022, there will already be 500 electric charging points in the region. Next year, 25 electric buses will be purchased, another 100 in 2023. So we send a signal to society to switch to electricity.”

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