Soviet Union Information Bureau


ELECTRIC power development in the Soviet Union is proceeding under a carefully drawn plan worked out by Government experts in relation to its increasing importance in the general program of industrial advance. Though the comprehensive scheme of development is still in its infancy, much constructive progress has been made, and the use of electrical energy to-day has advanced far beyond the pre-war use. Construction now under way represents the most ambitious program attempted by a European country and includes the largest single hydroelectric development in Europe.

During the fiscal year 1927-28 production of electrical energy in the Soviet Union amounted to 3,000,000,000 kilowatt hours, triple the pre-war figure. In 1926-27 the production was 4,112,000,000 kilowatt hours and in 1925-26 it was 3,248,000,000. Capacity of electric power plants in the country October 1, 1928, was 1,700,000 kilowatts. Under the plan of electric power development now proceeding, the electric power plants will be able to sustain an annual consumption of ten billion kilowatt hours by 1930-31.

Power plants are of two main types-public utility plants, and factory or mill plants.

The growth of the public utility power plants is shown in the following table:

Fiscal Year Kilowatts
1917 394,000
1922-23 478,000
1923-24 498,183
1924-25 538,026
1925-26 618,862
1926-27 733,655

The rise of electric energy furnished by public utility stations during the past five years is shown in the following table:

Fiscal Year Kilowatt-hours
1922-23 905,000,000
1923-24 897,000,000
1924-25 1,132,000,000
1925-26 1,470,000,000
1926-27 2,100,000,000

Factory and mill electric plants have shown a similar increase.

The public utility stations in 1926-27 included 18 large urban and regional plants with an aggregate capacity of 498,635 kilowatts, and 640 local plants with an aggregate capacity of 235,000 kilowatts.

Under the super-power plans now under development in the Soviet Union, the following are some of the principal plants already in operation:

Volkhov hydroelectric plant, near Leningrad. Capacity 6,000 kilowatts. Opened early in 1927.

Shatura plant, 130 kilometers from Moscow. Operates on peat fuel. Capacity 48,000 kilowatts. Opened 1925. To be increased to 88,000 kilowatts.

Kashira plant in the Moscow district, furnishing power to 32 villages. Capacity 12,o00 kilowatts. Opened October, 1922. Capacity to be increased to 40,000 kilowatts by the end of 1928 and to 120,000 kilowatts by 1931.

Balakhna plant, on the Volga near Nizhni-Novgorod. Operates on peat fuel. Capacity 20,000 kilowatts. Opened 1925. Capacity to be increased to 64,000 kilowatts during 1928 and to 86,000 kilowatts in 1930.

Krasny Oktiabr plant near Leningrad. Operates on peat fuel. Capacity 20,000 kilowatts. Opened 7926. To be increased to 110,000 kilowatts.

Shterovka plant in the Donetz Basin. Operates on coal. Capacity 20,000 kilowatts. Opened 1926. To be increased to 64,000 kilowatts.

The following large plants were begun in 1925-26, and were approaching completion in 1928:

Shakhty, in the Donetz Basin, capacity 44,000 kilowatts; Kharkov Central Plant, capacity 44,000 kilowatts; Kiev, capacity 22,000 kilowatts; Saratov, capacity 11,000 kilowatts.

Construction was begun on the following plants during 1927-28:

Ivanovo-Vosnesensk and Briansk, capacity 44,000 kilowatts each; Osinov (in White Russia), Gisel-Don (near Viadikavkaz in the Caucasus), Rion hydroelectric (Georgia), Dzoraghet hydroelectric (Armenia), Novorossiysk, Krasnodar and Grozny, each to have an eventual capacity of 22,000 kilowatts. The Briansk and Ivanovo-Voznesensk plants will consume peat, the Novorossiysk, Krasnodar and Grozny plants fuel oil.

In addition, industrial plants under construction amount to about 600,000 kilowatts.

One of the larger regional plants placed under construction in 1927 is the Svir hydroelectric station, on the river Svir, 240 kilometers from Leningrad, which will have a capacity of 80,000 kilowatts.

The most ambitious power project under way is the Dnieprostroy hydroelectric plant, work on which was begun in the summer of 1927. This will be the largest hydroelectric plant in Europe. Its capacity of 800,000 horse-power will be somewhat greater than Muscle Shoals. The plant will feed the southern mining district of the Ukraine with its rich deposits of manganese, nitre, iron and coal, and its large metallurgical and chemical works. In addition the project, with its collateral works, will open the Dnieper River to navigation for hundreds of miles into the interior, and will furnish irrigation to hundreds of thousands of acres of arid land. The Dnieprostroy project will take years to complete and will cost about $113,500,000 Col. Hugh L. Cooper, the creator of Muscle Shoals, is chief consulting engineer and German technicians are also assisting. The plans are wholly the work of Soviet technicians and the work will be financed by the Soviet Government.

During the past five years the Soviet Government has spent about $250,000,000 for large power stations. During 1928-29 plans call for the expenditure of an additional $100,000,000. To this will be added local expenditures of $50,000,000 for large plants and $30,000,000 for smaller plants, making a total of $180,000,000.

The original plans for superpower development in the Soviet Union were drawn up as early as 1920, under the impulsion of Lenin, who considered electrification an essential foundation in building the Socialist State. From the early days of the Soviet Government the foremost electrical and construction engineers in the country had been at work on them. The plans called for the construction of thirty new regional power plants with a total capacity of 1,000,000 kilowatts during a period of from ten to fifteen years. For several years the carrying out of the plans advanced slowly because of the acute poverty of the country. It has gained momentum rapidly during the past few years.

Electrical power was virtually unknown in the villages before the Revolution. A few of the big land-holders installed small electric plants to serve the needs of their own estates exclusively. The number of such plants at the outbreak of the Revolution was only g, with a total capacity of 1,038 kilowatts. In 1927 the number of rural plants in operation was 858 and their capacity 18,000 kilowatts. During the next five years, according to the electrification plan, upwards ol $50,000,000 will be expended on village plants and their capacity increased to 200,000 kilowatts.

The growth of rural electrification is shown in the following table:

1913 1917 1927
Number of plants 33 75 858
Aggregate capacity (kw.) 712 1,036 18,500
Farms served 89,739
Current used (1,000 kw. h.) 427 622 10,000

The large regional stations are also playing an increasing role in rural electrification. In 1927 they furnished 14 per cent of the current used on farms.

A beginning has been made to applying electric power to agricultural work, especially in relation to such things as threshing machines, flour-mills, fodder cutters, grain cleaning machinery, sawmills, oil pressing plants, etc. During the next few years electrification promises to be a greatly increased factor in the mechanization of agriculture.