Nature continues to be the strength of our civilization. Last year was a record number of disasters, abnormal weather and damage from them. 2011 is promising to keep up with its predecessor: the flood has hit Australia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Belgium. Russia also got: in several regions of the Volga region and Sakhalin hit unprecedented snowfall and extreme cold. And increasingly, there is an involuntary question: will there be enough margin of safety in our cozy and man-made world to stand next whims (or revenge) nature?
Accumulating experience and scientific knowledge of generations, people have learned to adjust their creations under ambient conditions. For example, in cold countries, paving the plumbing below the freezing depth of soil, and in areas where earthquakes, build earthquake-resistant buildings. But nature — especially recently — loves to present surprises. For example, the frequent flooding of such force that they are not saving any dam. Happen at all unusual atmospheric phenomena, such as sustainable anticyclone, fry half of Russia last summer, or freezing rain, which led to a massive power line breakage in the last days of 2010. This phenomenon, by the way, is not exotic to Canada and the northeastern United States, where it is called freezing rain (freezing rain).
But in Russia, no trees, no power lines were not designed for freezing of many tons of ice, making the first break, and the second exploded like a thread. Only in the Moscow region for half a severed 16,000 kilometers of wires, normally more than 10,000 substations (two-thirds of the total), no light left more than 300 settlements. From December blackout country reeling so far: Emergency mode repealed only in half of the total number of suburbs of the capital, where it was introduced by the decree of the governor of the Moscow region.
Brunt of the disaster in our country, as a rule, takes up energy. After all, it should ensure the viability of the economy and the population, which is especially important in cold climates during the winter. Therefore, to prevent the freezing of Central Russia, to deal with the consequences of freezing rain here were drawn maintenance crews and equipment across the country. Their work is sometimes hampered by the lack of roads: the clearing in the forest undergrowth, so that the branches and then fall to the wire, and to other places of continuity not even drive a tractor. As stated at the recent meeting of the Government Presidium Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, the next autumn-winter season all the negative experience of this winter will be taken into account. According to him, the power will conduct special training with modeling such situations, will make the appropriate changes in the regulations on the preparation for the winter and will get which proved deficient maintenance equipment. There will also be cut down to 10 thousand hectares of forest, threatening the wire or obstructing access to the power line (nothing can be done, in this case the power supply is more expensive environment). Shmatko also assured that the passage of the next winter will be "guaranteed" by the effects of this kind of weather anomalies. But this, of course, a very dubious warranty: What if nature will present some new surprise, and model-which is not yet possible?
And it should be noted that there are also another reason why natural disasters, more precisely, increasing damage from them. This human carelessness and improvidence. Say, if the Haiti earthquake-resistant houses were built, the victims of last year's earthquake would be many times smaller. And if in the Russian energy sector to-date (or at least repaired) fixed assets, the Moscow Region "blackout" would not be so extensive, and the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant would not have happened at all. However, fatal hindsight Haitians can explain poverty: the erection of a more secure housing in the country just did not have the money. Is it possible that in the Russian energy sector — the same poverty? In this I can not believe, given that electricity prices have increased every year (before they did it even twice a year), well ahead of the inflation rate (in 2010 prices per kWh increased by 15% this year — 10%).
Alas, the reality is pitiable. The Minister Shmatko acknowledges that the trouble is not so much the weather anomaly as "worn in electric grid, which is now estimated to be 60-65%." And last year, developed a program of modernization of energy sector, which will help reduce the wear and tear it to less than 50%. This program would require 2.8 trillion rubles. According to Shmatko, "basically means for the program is, they will get, including, by switching Interregional Distribution Grid Company to RAB-regulation, which involves a guaranteed rate of return on invested capital, and will increase the long-term loans" . Obviously, this will grow and prices — to investors to get their "guaranteed return." However, the funds while still not enough, and so the order of 500 billion rubles. According to Shmatko, "will draw from the budget or through the issuance of infrastructure bonds, which can also be purchased by budget institutions."
Thus, there is simply a paradoxical picture. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union new generation capacity, we have practically not been built, and the old repair was performed by patching. I had no energy power and no money to maintain its internal energy in good condition! Moreover, they are not enough and private energy companies — the heirs of RAO "UES of Russia", privatized and split in 2008. It is no secret that the purpose of the reform was not only the liberalization of the energy market of the country, but also shifting the financial costs for the development of thermal power for private capital. And he, as we see, once again shifts the costs to the state, and, of course, consumers. The receipt for the light, which pays the owners of private homes in the area, has long been included as a separate line "allowance for credit losses." This kind of advance payment, by which energy companies are insured by the consumers from possible accidents. And because electricity supplier can not argue: it is still a monopoly. Despite the announced liberalization of the energy market, competition in this field has not arisen.
Well, the whole world will have to save our energy from natural disturbances like now and save hapless Haiti. And, apparently, you have to be prepared for new surprises weather and dilapidated equipment: winter-is still in full swing.