The Russian Coal Sector: Challenges and Transition Opportunities

Convened by Climate Strategies, the project builds and enables knowledge exchange on the current and future status of coal in Russia. Focusing on progress towards a low-carbon economy in Russia, the project provides insights into the macroeconomic and social stability of coal regions, and delineates pathways forward given the global, ongoing low-carbon energy transition.

This ongoing programme on energy transitions in Russia highlights recent developments in Russia, discusses energy transition discourses from a Russian perspective, and assesses the potential for alternative energy carriers to coal. We will be discussing further research findings at events, and publish insightful and evidence-based policy briefs and reports on our social media accounts.

NEW: Join us for this event on advancing Russia’s coal transition.

Year: 2020 Current Project

  • Background

    In many regions of the world demand for coal is set to reduce, and the Russian coal sector is now facing a dual-challenge. 

    The Russian Coal Sector

    Having signed the Paris Agreement in September 2019, the Russian government must take actions to develop new strategies for coal. However, the government must also address risks affecting energy poverty and stability, considering their large coal-producing regions and the wide-reaching consequences of changes to coal production and export.

    This programme improves understanding of energy transitions in Russia. It develops and shares knowledge on the risks for coal-producing regions, enabling the recommendation of practical steps for decision-makers and energy stakeholders.

    The link between Russia and Europe has been weak in recent years, with limited collaboration, unproductive high-level politics and delays on climate action. Despite this, there are opportunities to develop a domestic and international network working on low-carbon transitions in Russia, catalysing dialogue and knowledge exchange.

  • Objectives

    The project aims to enable knowledge exchange between Europe and Russia, and to support stakeholders at multiple levels in industry, government and the general public by providing a comprehensive analysis of the Russian coal sector. It also aims to create a lasting network, both domestic and international, that will take forward research into low-carbon development and just transitions in Russia.

    The objectives are:

    1. Desk-based analysis of the role of coal in the Russian economy to assess its sustainability, trends and projections, trade flows with consumers of Russian coal as well as national, regional and private sector investment initiatives.
    2. Convene a multi-stakeholder dialogue to inform the analysis of coal interplay with other energy resources and  to share lessons learnt and good practices.
    3. Investigate the economic and social contexts of coal-producing regions (Kuzbass, Sakhalin and Komi Republic) through stakeholder interviews, cost benefit analysis and challenges/opportunities for just transition.
    4. Examine the importance of coal in Russian GHG emissions and outline opportunities and risks of coal pathways and alternatives under global low-carbon scenarios.
    5. Assess transition risks and opportunities from a global economic transition to a low carbon economy in the Kuzbass region, with a focus on the coal sector.
    6. Develop recommendations for strategies to address future declines in coal consumption for Russian leaders of the coal industry.
    7. Develop a domestic and international network for future research in the Russian energy sector.

  • Partners

    The research lead is Anna Korppoo, Research Professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo. Our Russian partners are: