Due to sanctions, no turbines for Russia's new power plants in occupied Crimea

Due to sanctions, no turbines for Russia's new power plants in occupied CrimeaRussia's $1.3 billion plan to build two new power plants, which would supply Crimea's residents with the power they once got from Ukraine, has been knocked off course by Western technology sanctions.

This is reported by Reuters citing four sources familiar with the plans.

The plants were designed to house gas turbines made by a unit of Siemens. But the German engineering firm risks violating sanctions if it delivers them. With no turbines, the project faces delays, the sources said.

Siemens officials have always said there were no plans to supply the turbines.

Russia explored buying turbines from Iran, changing the design to accommodate Russian-made turbines and using Western-designed turbines already in Russia. Each alternative had problems, the sources said, leaving officials and managers unable to agree on how to move forward.

"The power stations were designed for Siemens turbines," said Alexei Chaliy, a Crimea lawmaker who in 2014 was one of the two most senior local officials under Moscow's de facto rule.

"In 2014 I warned there would be problems. Over the past 20 years, Russia has lost the ability to produce turbines of that capacity. And so it ended badly."

"They have started to build the power stations ... but there are no turbines."

European Union sanctions forbid the supply to Crimea of technology used in the energy sector. Policing EU sanctions is the responsibility of the bloc's member states. The German government has said in the past that German firms flouting the sanctions face unspecified penalties.

The Kremlin said it wanted the power stations partially operational by September and fully operational by March 2018. That is the anniversary of the Crimean annexation and the month when Russia votes in a presidential election. Putin is expected to run for a new term.

Russia's energy ministry did not respond to a written request for comment.
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