“Fortum” dumps coal // The company sells the Argayashskaya CHPP to the structure of “Rosatom”

Fortum (controlled by the Finnish Fortum) sold a 256 MW coal-fired Argayashskaya CHPP in the Chelyabinsk region to Rosatom. The sale price, according to analysts, may be up to 2 billion rubles. Fortum, which relies on green generation, attributes the sale to a desire to reduce the portfolio’s carbon footprint. In the long term, Rosatom can reduce energy supply costs: the Argayashskaya CHPP is the main source of industrial steam for the Mayak enterprise, which processes nuclear fuel and produces components for nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Argayashskaya CHPP will completely lose the increased power tariff from 2022, which calls into question the profitability of this facility.

The energy company “Fortum” (the Russian division of the Finnish Fortum) announced the sale of the coal-fired Argayashskaya CHPP in the Chelyabinsk region. The sale agreement was signed with JSC Rusatom Infrastructure Solutions (RIR; part of Rosatom). Fortum plans to transfer control of the station to a new owner in the third quarter of 2021 after the completion of the registration procedure for the transfer of ownership. Argayashskaya CHPP will continue to fulfill its obligations to consumers and contractors, the statement says.

Argayashskaya CHPP has been operating since 1954 in the village of Novogorny, about 10 km from the closed town of Ozersk. The electric power of the CHPP is 256 MW, and the heat capacity is 824 MW. It was built for the needs of the Mayak chemical plant (part of Rosatom), which is engaged in the processing of spent nuclear fuel, the production of nuclear weapons components, and the production of isotopic products for industry and medicine. In addition, the Argayashskaya CHPP is the main source of heat and electricity for the city of Ozersk and the village of Novogorny.

In 2020, the Argayashskaya CHPP received increased payments for capacity, since it had the status of forced generation (assigned to expensive but necessary facilities for the system). This year, only three power units of the CHPP have an increased “forced” tariff. And in the list of “forced” for 2022–2024 there is no station at all: the facility will have to work within the framework of competitive power take-off and on the day-ahead market on an equal footing with other TPPs, which will reduce its revenues.

The parties do not disclose the price parameters of the transaction. According to estimates by Vladimir Sklyar of VTB Capital, the cost of selling the CHPP could be 1.5–2 billion rubles.

Rosatom, as the main consumer of the CHP plant, is likely to be able to reduce its energy costs after purchasing it. In particular, the Mayak enterprise uses industrial steam from a CHP. The general director of RIR Ksenia Sukhotina said that the inclusion of the station in the control loop of RIR “will preserve the high standards of work in the field of heat supply to the population and enterprises, laid down earlier by the partners.”

At the same time, Fortum CEO Alexander Chuvaev emphasizes that “for Fortum Corporation, the sale of the station will be an important step in optimizing the asset portfolio as part of a global strategy aimed at achieving carbon neutrality”. According to him, the sale of the facility, along with “the gradual withdrawal from the combustion of coal at Chelyabinsk CHPP-2, will allow the Russian division to completely abandon the use of coal by the end of 2022.”

Polina Smertina

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