Gao Tianming, Vasilii Erokhin, Zhu Dianyong & Zhu Gexun

The need to boost economic growth and develop high-tech energy-intensive industries requires an allout effort to increase power generation. On the other hand, the human-induced carbon footprint has become so evident that radical actions are needed to reduce emissions and decarbonize the energy sector. Russia’s attitude to the international carbon neutrality agenda is essential since the bulk of hydrocarbons and coal comes from the Russian Arctic, Siberia, and the Far East, where climate change is rapidly advancing. At the same time, Russia is facing a growing territorial imbalance between the demand for energy in the European part of the country and the extraction of fossil fuels which is shifting further to the northeast to the Arctic. Due to the abundance of local energy resources, most Russian Arctic regions prioritize further exploitation of oil, gas, and coal fields. Nevertheless, some territories have started turning to renewable energy in an attempt to overcome infrastructure gaps and to make local energy mixes more resilient to energy supply disruptions. Since the mid-2010s (the first international sanctions against Russia), part of Russia’s energy supplies has been redirected to China (the Turn to the East policy), while Chinese companies have increased their share in Russia’s energy sector. China is interested in expanding transboundary energy supply for domestic needs in the northern and northeastern provinces, making Russia’s Far East and the Arctic zone particularly attractive to Chinese investors. However, the heated conflict in Ukraine has disrupted conventional collaboration formats with Russian energy companies, cut Russia from Western technologies and equipment, and forced the EU countries to embargo Russian oil. The chapter attempts to feel around for the new reality mechanisms of Russia-China collaboration which could contribute to bridging the spatial development gaps in the energy sector and address the contemporary challenges posed to the low-carbon transition in the Russian Arctic.

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