Bloomberg News

Russian Grid Boosts Spending to Promote Smart Grids, Chair Says

October 24, 2011

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Grid Co., Russia’s state monopoly for high-voltage power transmission, will spend $116 million this year on research and development, according to Chairman Ernesto Ferlenghi.

The company is boosting spending to explore environmental developments including smart meters and grids, he said in an interview in London today. In 2008 the transmission operator spent $3 million on research and development, he said.

“The environment is now a top priority,” Ferlenghi said, adding that the goal is to someday manage the whole network from Moscow. “This is an experiment we are going through.”

Smart-grid technologies help utilities improve the flow of power by carrying both electricity and data. The technology allows consumers to feed excess power into the grid and makes it possible for utilities to prepare for swings generated by the use of renewable energy.

Federal Grid operates the world’s largest high-voltage network with 118,045 kilometers (73,350 miles) of electricity transmission lines and 758 sub-stations, according to its website. The company plans to spend $6 billion annually over the next five years on renovating and expanding the network.

Ferlenghi, head of Russia for Italian oil producer Eni SpA, is the first foreign chairman of a state-owned Russian company.

--Editors: Will Kennedy, Alex Devine

To contact the reporter on this story: Kari Lundgren in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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