Select "green way"

Public hearings held by the company "AlES" in April were devoted not only to the results of production activities, tariff formation, financial indicators, but also to environmental issues.

Smog became a characteristic feature of Almaty. And it is unlikely to please city residents that according to this characteristic the city became a "twin city" of Moscow, Beijing or Tokyo. Energy, like all Almaty residents live in the city, is growing, just like all children, and they want to breathe clean air and be healthy, emphasize in ALES, and no less others are interested in the environmental safety of their homeland.

Of course, in ideal would be to close all the TPPs to a single and live by candlelight. And there you look, alternative energy will completely fill up the lost volumes of energy. But in practice everything is not so soon solved, it is clear to everyone. Nobody wants to give up the blessings and comfort of civilization: light, heat, lit streets, favorite TVs and household appliances.

And from cars, the number of which in the city according to statistics, in the autumn of last year exceeded 850 thousand units. That is, two townspeople have one car. According to the "Comprehensive program of the akimat of the city for 2009-2018", 80% of air pollution falls on transport. 20% are all remaining stationary sources of enterprises, including TPP-2. The paradox is that it is the large companies that are subject to regulation, tight control, a wave of criticism, are more law-abiding than our motorists.

Environmental law-abiding power was shown at public hearings in JSC "AlES", which took place in April. The management of the company with figures, photos, graphs, told about what was done to reduce the impact on the environment.

A step-by-step implemented environmental program, controlled not only by the public, but by the state and environmentalists, is already yielding results. Thus, it was noted at public hearings, the amount of expenses for environmental projects of the company in 2009-2015 was 22.3 billion tenge. Investments allowed to reduce harmful emissions to atmospheric air during this period by 25 thousand tons or by 37%. If you just list the figures, objects, aggregates, then probably the idea of ​​the amount of work being done can only be developed by specialists. For journalists, the company constantly organizes press tours on modernized facilities. And this is not just a demonstration of the policy of openness, but a desire to show visually what has been done at the expense of investments. The journalists' genuine interest was evoked by a trip last autumn at TPP-1, which celebrated its jubilee - the 80th anniversary of the work. Now JSC "AlES" transfers the production load from this station to TPP-2.

Townspeople are already accustomed to the fact that TPP-1, located in the city, does not spoil the air and the sky. This happened due to the transfer to gas fuel, TPP-1 the first, which the power engineers put on the "green" path. Now TPP-1 produces and releases an average of 350 gigocalories per hour of heat - it is enough to heat 70,000 apartments, and 90 MW of electricity, sufficient for 18,000 families. At the same time over the pipe - a clear sky.

The experience of reducing the load on TPP-1 is one of the examples of a prudent approach to energy. Along with other facilities of the station in that autumn press tour we were shown a connecting heating main between two city thermal power plants.

"This is both an ecologically and economically reasonable project," said Isakhan Syrgabayev, managing director of Almaty TPP-1, indicating the point of heat reception from TPP-2. - It takes hot water and stores in four huge containers of 20,000 cubic meters which is then distributed to city facilities in the area of ​​responsibility of our station. TPP -2 is located on the outskirts of the city, at a distance of nearly17 km. It works on a cheap Ekibastuz coal. Accordingly, the cost of heating water is lower. Receiving water in sufficient quantities, TPP -1 began to burn much less fuel. Emissions in the city are reduced to a minimum, and there is a tangible savings in money. There is one more plus: modern technologies allow to minimize heat losses during hot water transportation.

After 2020, according to the development strategy of Almaty TPP -1, a gas turbine plant is planned to be built. The replacement of equipment will completely eliminate the use of coal at this station. Accordingly, the volume of coal burned at TPP-1, and hence the environmental burden on the city, will also decrease.

Since 2007, at TPP-2, due to significant investments and strict control of ecologists, reconstruction of ash collecting devices with the installation of new generation battery emulsifiers on all boiler units was completed, burners were modernized.

- To comply with the requirements of the environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan, JSC "AlES" carried out a number of environmental measures, "Nurlan Muhamed-Rakhimov, Chairman of the Board, reported at the hearings. - Reconstruction of ash collecting devices with the installation of new generation emulsifiers on all boiler units of TPP -2 increased the purification rate to 99.5%. This allowed to reduce ash emissions from 10,9 thousand tons to 5,1 thousand tons in comparison with the initial period. The dynamics of emission control from TPP -2 also shows a steady reduction in dust emissions, due to introduction of ash collecting facilities - emulsifiers. Thanks to the introduction of low-emission burners to suppress nitrogen oxides, emissions decreased by 200 tons compared to the initial period.

Speaking about emissions of harmful substances at thermal stations, it is oftened asked about the presence of harmful formaldehyde in it. In the flue gases of TPP-2 it there is none formaldehyde and can not be, explains AlES management. Comparison of Karaganda and Ekibastuz coal consumers surprises specialists.

- In the 1990s, the companies could not provide TPP-2 with Karaganda industrial products in sufficient quantities, so the decision was made to transfer the station to Ekibastuz coal, the company explained. The calorific value of Ekibastuz is even higher than that of industrial products, and the price is much lower. This means that if we burned 2.2 million tons of Ekibastuz coal, then the industrial product would have to burn about 2.5 million tons. Ekibastuz coal is the cheapest and most efficient fuel of domestic production, which allows to restrain tariffs for thermal and electric energy. By the way, almost 75% of electric energy in the country is produced at Ekibastuz basin coal.

Energy experts emphasize that control over emissions, compliance with the company's environmental standards is carried out by state control bodies strictly on schedule. Taking into account the fulfillment of its part of the obligations to implement the "Comprehensive program to reduce environmental pollution in Almaty for 2009-2018." The continuous monitoring of the environment quarterly, specialized organizations conduct industrial environmental monitoring. The laboratories of JSC "AlES" carry out ecological monitoring - but never before, exceeding the maximum allowable concentration in the ground layer of atmospheric air has not been observed. Absence of problematic issues related to management in the field of air pollution in JSC "AlES" is confirmed in the annex to the letter from October 12, 2015 from the Office of Energy and Communal Services of Almaty.

"We understand perfectly well that we have only a part of the way in environmental safety issues," said Gazi Ismukhambetov, Deputy Chairman of the Production Board, commented on the work. - But one also need to understand that not all questions can be solved in a forced manner. We need to take into account factors such as the availability of funds, the need to perform production tasks. The company provides 70% of electricity and heat supply to the city of Almaty and Almaty region. Therefore, it is clear that we can modernize and re-equip without violating our commitments to develop and supply our products to consumers without breaking the schedule.

Often, the public starts discussions about what fuel is safer, more efficient and why the power engineers do not switch to one or another of its kind. Conceived are the examples of stations operating abroad that are environmentally friendly. Energy sector monitors these discussions agreeing with the society that the impact on the environment from any activity should be minimal, the reasoning is answered, the matter is not always in the fuel. The answer lies in the technologies.

"During Bolashak program I was trained in Germany, where we were shown new technologies and equipment," says Kainarbek Kerimkulov, head of the technical department of AlES JSC. - We visited various power plants including coal thermal power plants. I was impressed with the picture in the shops. The station carried a full load of 1,200 MW, but it felt like it did not work - smoke could not be seen from the chimney. From the ecological point of view, this coal station was absolutely safe.

Kazakhstan, by virtue of its natural resources, could theoretically afford any type of fuel and any type of energy, but then the question arises: who will pay for it?

The conversion of stations from one fuel to another is taken with caution. In terms of costs, this can be comparable with the construction of a new station, and is not always justified from a security point of view.

This is the issue of transferring gas to the largest TPP-2 in the city. It is possible to make such a decision, but at what price and with what result? This reconstruction will take almost 11 years and capital investments in the amount of 43 billion tenge with a probable increase to the current tariffs twice.

"We adhere to the policy of reasonable compromises," Gazi Ismukhambetov, the Deputy Chairman of the Production Board, tells our newspaper. - We have already done much in the past 5 years. So, the share of combusted gas in the fuel balance of JSC AlES has already been increased. We are also searching for alternative sources of combustible fuel with improved characteristics. For example, in 2015 an experienced combustion of enriched Ekibastuz coal at TPP-2 was carried out. We are looking for a rational solution of the issue, which allows us to solve the tasks both industrial and environmental. We have made calculations that showed that the transition to enriched Ekibastuz coal will take less than two years, and the costs will amount KZT 1.5 bn. There are calculations and the transition to low-ash coals, although the price of the issue is much higher.

But if we ask the question only "gas and nothing else", then for the main station of the city of TPP-2, such a statement of the question is unacceptable. Firstly, it is technically impossible to transfer TPP-2 to natural gas. This is the opinion of energy experts, specialists of design institutes. And even if to admit theoretically, financial calculations show huge, out-of-service expenses for the company. Who should carry them? The state or the population? To this question there is no answer not only from supporters of gas modernization.

"Even if we attract a bank loan, it needs to be serviced, we can compensate such costs only through an increase in tariffs," Gaziy Ismukhambetov continues. - Will Almaty residents pay for gas two or three times more than for the coal and pay for heat and electricity at high tariffs? It is clear that at one point the problems of ecology are not solved. For the company, the first priority is to provide the city with light and warmth. But we are taking all possible measures to reduce harmful effects. I think that the figures officially recorded by state bodies are controlled by the public, this is eloquently confirmed.

 Alevtina DONSKIH, Almaty