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ECO journal (ECOnomics and industrial Engineering)

2018 year, number 7

Features of the Energy Crisis in the USSR 1960-1980-ies: Lessons for Today

H. S. Simonov
Keywords: мировой энергетический кризис, топливно-энергетические ресурсы, генерирующая мощность, энергетическая система, энергетическое оборудование, качество электроэнергии, World energy crisis, fuel and energy resources, power generation, power system, power equipment, power quality


The ground of the article is revealed on the basis of the Service Notes of the Minister of Electric Power and Electrification of the USSR P. S. Neporoznii Immaculate in the highest organs of state power and economic management of the USSR: the CPSU Central Committee, the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the State Planning Committee of the USSR. Documents are introduced into scientific discussions for the first time. It is proved that indirect signs of the energy crisis in the USSR were manifested in the late 1950s and early 1960s: the growth rates of energy capacities began to lag behind the rates of growth in industrial production and total energy consumption. The increase in electric power production was achieved due to the excess number of hours of applying of the power equipment, which led to its progressive deterioration. Thermal power plants, especially during the autumn-winter maximum of the load, were not provided in the required volume with fuel oil and “design” coals. In the second half of the 1970s. the chronic shortage of fossil fuels and the use of energy equipment at the limit of technical capacity have led to a disruption of the normal operation of energy systems. This was reflected in their failure to comply with the state standard of frequency and voltage for 50% of the calendar season or more. Opportunities for the accelerated development of non-carbon - nuclear and renewable - energy were missed, and the system of managing the economy proved to be incapable of providing more efficient and economical expenditure of fuel and energy resources at the expense of innovations. In the mid-1980s the situation in the electric power industry is estimated by the industry leadership as “very serious”. The main lesson of the energy crisis experienced by the USSR is that organic fuel is a scarce resource and, for the long-term needs of the electric power industry, is not completely reliable, despite its seeming abundance. This resource should be protected and, if possible, replaced by alternative sources of energy. A similar result can also be achieved through the economical use of electricity (energy saving technologies).