Moscow, Russia --- (METERING.COM) --- June 21, 2010 - Russia’s Federal Grid Company is setting out plans to develop a smart grid, including a significant increase in its investment in infrastructure over the next three to five years.

The company, which owns and operates Russia’s 73,350 mile power grid, previously announced a plan to invest around €12 billion in the period 2010 to 2012 in the development of the grid, including construction of an additional 5,200 miles of transmission lines and 29,000 MVA of installed transformer capacity.

In the Moscow Times last week, Federal Grid Company CEO Oleg Budargin was quoted as saying that the company is seeking approval to add 400 billion rubles (€10.4 billion) to its investment program, to bring the total investment to 919 billion rubles (€23.9 billion) over the next five years.

“We haven’t missed the smart grid train yet,” Budargin was quoted as saying, adding that the upgrade of the grid could reduce electricity losses by 25 percent and save as much as 35 billion kWh of power with a value of more than €1.3 billion per year.

The company has also recently signed three agreements to advance its smart grid agenda.

In a strategic cooperation agreement with Siemens AG, the company will implement new technologies including low loss high voltage DC transmission on its networks.

In an agreement with Li-ion battery manufacturer Ener1, new opportunities will be investigated to use high performance battery systems to improve the reliability and performance of the Russian electricity system.

Finally an agreement has been signed with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), under which the Bank – which has directly invested over €1 billion and mobilized additional investments of €2 billion in the Russian power sector in the last nine years – will consider new investments which will contribute towards making the network more energy efficient.

Smart grids and energy efficiency also are part of the focus of the U.S.-Russia energy and environment working group under the Bilateral Presidential Commission formed last year by President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev. That group, co-chaired by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, will hold its next meeting in Washington, DC in July.

The Federal Grid Company was formed in 2002 in a reorganization of Russia’s national electric power industry, and is approximately 78 percent owned by the Russian federal government.