On 26th June 2019, the Voith subsidiary VolgaHydro opened ceremonially its new production plant in Balakovo, Russia. The new facility will produce and assemble components for hydropower plant turbines. Furthermore, the activities will include maintenance services and supplying equipment to large and small hydropower plants.
The total investment for the project amounts to 2.5 billion Russian ruble. Around 100 new work places have been created within the plant in the Saratov Region, which is located 800 kilometers southeasterly of Moscow, Russia. In the future, it is planned to increase the number to 200 people.
"With the new plant in Balakovo, Voith deepens its position on the Russian market. This means that the new production facility will benefit from our innovative developments and technologies for the design and fabrication of hydropower components and we can serve our Russians clients fully locally", says Dr. Leopold Heninger, CEO & President of Voith Hydro Europe. "Furthermore, the company will be involved in hydropower projects in the CIS countries."
The first major contract for the new plant in Balakovo includes the production of components for eight Kaplan turbines for the Russian hydropower plant Saratov. With a diameter of 10.3 m each, and a runner weight of 314 metric tons, the turbines are the largest of their kind in Russia. The hydropower plant Saratov has been in operation for more than 50 years and is currently undergoing an extensive modernization. The facility is located around 160 kilometers northerly of Saratov. It is one of the largest regional power objects and an important cornerstone for the reliable supply of power to the Saratov region. The project for the Balakovo plant is planned to be completed by 2025.
Significant hydropower potential in Russia
Russia has a very significant hydropower potential. The economic potential of hydropower resources in the world’s largest country is around 850 TWh/year. So far, only about one fifth of this potential has been developed. Besides the building of new plants, the focus is also on extensive upgrades and the modernization of existing facilities. Voith looks back on a long history in Russia. The company delivered 1898 the first hydropower turbine to the country and supplied in the following decades electromechanical hydropower equipment to the Soviet Union.
In 2013, VolgaHydro has been founded as a joint venture between Voith and RusHydro, one the world’s largest producers of energy from hydropower. The company is designated to become the innovation center in Russia, contributing to the development of national science and engineering in the field of hydropower. In 2016, the company celebrated the official laying of the foundation stone for the new production plant in Balakovo. In February 2019, Voith acquired the share in the joint venture from RusHydro.
Picture: The new production plant for hydropower turbines of VolgaHydro in Balakovo, Russia, has in total 8.000 square meters manufacturing area. (Image: Voith)