347910, Russia, Rostov region, Taganrog, Lenin street, 224Б

info@wrs-towers.com

347910, Russia, Rostov region, Taganrog, Lenin street, 224Б
info@wrs-towers.com

How the energy of the future is being built in Taganrog

Limited Liability Company WRS Towers based in Taganrog is the first and main manufacturer of wind turbine towers in Russia. Journalists of “Don Priorities” magazine visited this unique factory, whose CEO Petr Spiridonov spoke in detail about his Plant, the large-scale work done, and shared plans for the future.

For reference:

WRS Towers LLC was founded in December 2018. The Plant has a production area of 7.5 hectares. The production capacity is up to 145 towers per year.

- Petr Alekseevich, who are the founders and shareholders of WRS Towers LLC?

- The founder and investor of our company is the Spanish company Windar Renovables S.L., one of the world's largest manufacturers of wind turbine towers. This is the rights holder of production technologies, the licensor providing operational management of the project, holding 51% of the shares. In addition, LLC “Managing Company “Rusnano” and PAO “Severstal” each have 24.5% of the shares. LLC “Managing Company “Rusnano” is a sovereign investment fund and a Russian global technological and financial investor that provides administrative support for the project to create a unique production facility. PAO “Severstal”, a strategic investor, our main supplier of metal, guarantees the raw material security of the project.

In 2018, the company has received 782 million rubles of investments for buying the equipment. In 2019-2020, more than 305 million rubles were additionally invested by our shareholders.

- How convenient is the location and logistics of the enterprise?

- We are located in the city center, 2 kilometers from the federal motorway Moscow - Rostov-on-Don - Taganrog. There is access to water transport routes - the production is located in the immediate vicinity of the Taganrog seaport. Besides, the railway line connects with the North Caucasus Railway. As for automobile logistics, it provides transportation of goods with a diameter of up to 6 meters and a length of up to 35 meters, both towards the seaport and the federal motorway.

- What Russian regions do your products go to? Are there any possibilities for exporting abroad?

- At present time, the company's business portfolio includes participation in the construction of wind farms in 11 Russian regions. Besides Rostov region, these are Krasnodar, Stavropol, Perm, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Murmansk, Orenburg and Ulyanovsk regions, the Republic of Tatarstan and Kalmykia. Let me emphasize: our Rostov region is confidently leading in this list, with a capacity of 413.6 MW. For comparison: Tatarstan - 100 MW, Krasnodar and Murmansk regions - 150 MW each, Volgograd region - 77.4 MW. The second place after Rostov region is taken by Ulyanovsk region - 236 MW.

This year, according to the contracts, we supply towers to Kalmykia and Murmansk regions. Next year - to Samara and Volgograd regions. All orders up to and including 2024 have been scheduled.

As for the export opportunities, among the potential markets for export products there are Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Belarus. We hold negotiations with these countries. There is also Ukraine among the possible markets.

By the way, wind power industry was developed during the USSR period. There has been created a powerful wind farm in Mariupol, about 50 towers. Of course, to compare with Europe, this promising area was underdeveloped, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union it was nearly abandoned. Now in our country we understood the need for wind turbines, and we are gradually catching up with the leading European and world countries.

- How did the anti-Russian sanctions affect your enterprise? Which countries do you work with?

- Absolutely not affected. We cooperate with Spain, Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, China. These are our main partners. I would like to note that we pay special attention to the localization of suppliers. The share of materials and equipment from domestic manufacturers is over 85%. Our factory closely cooperates with Don enterprises from Azov, Donetsk and a number of other districts.

- Let's go back to the Don region. Where are steel towers which were produced at your factory, already installed and operating in the Rostov region?

- In Krasnosulinsky and Kamensky districts, 78 wind turbines have been installed and now operate. In 2020, 38 more wind turbines will be launched in Azov and Verkhnedonsk districts. We continue to develop this promising area at the Don region. Moreover, our region is exposed to frequent strong winds.

- How do you estimate the possibilities of wind energy? How much does it justify actually considerable investments?

- The main benefit is the preservation of the environment. If there is no favorable environment, everything else on this planet will become meaningless. An important factor is the preservation of natural resources, oil, coal, gas, the reserves of which are limited. The wind does not require the construction of mines, drilling, complex logistics, or disturbance of the ecological balance of the area. Energy can be obtained literally from the air. Therefore, the effect of wind turbines on the economy is quite considerable. For it is said that Denmark receives 50% of its electric power from wind power factories.

- What is the number of jobs at the enterprise, what professions are there? What can you say about the social package, working conditions and recreation of the employees. Is the wage higher than average for Taganrog?

- The factory has created over 200 jobs. There are working professions, for example, welders, rollers, painters ... In addition, there are technical and engineering employees, management, accounting, human resources department. Of course, there is a social package. We pay special attention to labour conditions and safety. The average wage is about 50 000 rubles, which is quite well for our city. We are behind the Taganrog seaport and a number of other large companies in terms of the average wage, but we are among the top 5 leaders in the city. There is a line of applicants to us, our factory has become known in the city in a short time, there is almost no staff turnover.

- A new business is always difficult to master, and here we have the rarest direction for our country - the production of towers for wind energy. How and where did you study this business?

- Enormous job has been done, we started from scratch. The production area has been rented. We have invited 25 workers from Spain to Taganrog, studied and learned from them the basics of skill, literally tagged along behind them, each foreigner was assigned 2 our workers. And they have learned. Now we have a core of 50-60 first-class specialists. Moreover, the young people who have now come to us are taught by our welders, rollers who have gained the experience.

- Large and serious companies, like yours, usually participate in the city or region’s life, providing all possible support to people. Please tell, do you have a social area of activity?

“For two years in a row, we have allocated 2 000 000 rubles annually to the charitable foundation to support the creation of the “Sambek Heights”, a national military-historical museum complex, which will be opened this year. The memory of the war is sacred to us, about 800 000 Soviet soldiers were killed in the battle of Mius front. I believe that only by remembering the past, we can build the future.

After the coronavirus pandemic has started and the announcement of a self-isolation regime, we allocated 3 000 000 rubles for healthcare needs. These funds have been used to buy personal protective equipment, medical suits, glasses, respirators of the 2nd and 3rd levels of protection, and antiseptics for city hospital No. 7 and 5 polyclinics.

- Could you please name the most important achievements during the company’s operation? What did you manage to do, what are your further plans?

- In April 2018, we began to build the factory, and on December 13th the grand opening has happened. In 2019, we have completed the main task - we launched production, mastered the equipment, trained workers, and got certified. Today, WRS Towers has all the international certificates required for manufacturing the products. We had numbers of foreign expert audits, and we are rated with high scores, even higher than those required for the production of towers. Now, after the successful 2nd stage of the investment project, the task is to reach maximum capacity. We will move forward. We have already signed big contracts, and their number will increase in the near future - this is obvious already today.

Konstantin KUKHARENKO

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