Head of Aggreko says he's ready to power Russian growth

Chris Weston, CEO of British power generation company, Aggreko, participated in the meeting of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, with the world CEOs in St Petersburg last week.

An Aggreko generator in front of Saint Basil's Cathedral

Chris Weston, CEO of power generation company, Aggreko, participated in the meeting of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, with the world CEOs in St Petersburg last week.

The meeting marked the end of the second day of the St Petersburg Economic Forum, where Mr Weston was a speaker and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Far East Investment and Export Agency, in the presence of Alexander Galushka, Minister of Far East Development.

Mr Weston highlighted the company’s commitment to supporting economic growth in the Far East region of the Russian Federation, which is 36 per cent of its landmass and 4 per cent of its population, and a major focus for Mr Putin’s government.

“I’m very excited about what we see in the Far East. I would like to think that we will grow a presence here over the next few years, and that will bring an investment in jobs, people and infrastructure,” said Mr Weston.

“I’m very encouraged by the talks we’re having with the Far East Investment and Export Agency, the opportunities and support the Agency and the Ministry are offering us”.

Industrial growth in the region is currently 5 per cent a year – one of the highest in the country – with potential for further increase.

However, the bulk of the Far East is supplied with electricity from isolated power systems. These autonomous grids currently provide around 400 MW of diesel-generated power, which is often unreliable due to old equipment and poor maintenance.

“The need for reliable power distributed across a wide geography is Aggreko’s area of expertise and we can very quickly deliver power into these areas using our own equipment,” said Mr Weston.

“The equipment we have developed is state of the art, it’s very new, and probably more efficient than anything else on the market. And the beauty of our business model is that we are agile and can keep up to date with changes in technology.”

Aggreko’s world-leading mobile, modular power fleet comprises of generators that run on diesel, HFO, different types of gas, as well as hybrid systems that combine diesel with renewables, such as solar. The company is a major investor in developing new energy technologies that focus on bringing reliable power cost-effectively and responsibly.

“The efficiency of our kit starts to reduce the cost of power in areas like the Far East, and then, as you bring in the renewables, the alternative energy, these different sources of fuel, will further reduce the cost of electricity,” he said.

As well as utilities, Mr Weston spoke of the company’s extensive experience of generating power for other industries, such as mining, construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, petrochemical and refining and agriculture, all of which are areas offering development opportunities in the Russian Far East.

Aggreko has a network of depots, service centres and offices in more than 100 countries around the world, including Russia, and is renowned for its speed of mobilisation – often getting power on within a matter of weeks – and for the quality of its workforce, their attention to detail and focus on safety and training.

The company has a policy of training and developing a local workforce, wherever possible.