Industrial power industry had begun to develop in Chelyabinsk region before the region was officiallyformed in 1934. Back in 1909, the first hydroelectric station with the capacity of 1.36 megawatts was built on the banks of the Big Satka in Porogy area ofthe then Yekaterinburg district ofPerm province. This station is still in operation and it is included in the list of cultural sites protected by UNESCO as the oldest operating power plant in Russia.
The period of 1930s was the time when such global power giants as Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (known as MMK), Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant were founded. Power engineering was officially called the industry’s “lifeblood”, since it would have been impossible to build up the industrial potential of Chelyabinsk region without the construction of power generating and transmitting facilities.
According to the electrification plan, on September 15, 1930, Chelyabinsk State District Power Plant (abbreviated as ChGRES) was opened.
The Second World War gave another impulse to the development of power industry in Chelyabinsk region. In 1941, hundreds of industrial enterprises were removed to the Urals from Moscow, Leningrad,from Ukraine and Belarus. They required large amount of power supply, which was provided by the new, modern CHP-1 opened on January 18, 1942,in Chelyabinsk.Postwar period brought a rapid growth of energy consumption, which required additional power generation facilities. So in 1949, another, ZyuratkulskayaHydroelectric Power Plant, with the capacity of 5.76 megawatt, was openedon the banks of the BolshayaSatka, nearthe village of Magnitsky.
On April 28, 1952, South Ural State District Power Plant (abbreviated as GRES) was opened in Chelyabinsk region. This plant gave birth to Yuzhnouralsk, the youngest city in the region. In 1954, another plant, Argayashskaya CHP, was built in the village of Novogorny, which added to the region's power generating assets. This combined heat and power plant was designed to provide electrical and thermal power to businesses and citizens of closed nuclear cities of OzerskandSnezhinsk. In 1957 Magnitogorsk CHP was put in operation in Magnitogorsk.
In 1960, Troitsk GRES was opened and became the largest power plant in Europe at that time, and on December 1, 1962, Chelyabinsk CHP-2 was put into operation.
On April 1, 1996, the first phase of the largest and most modern CHP-3 in Chelyabinsk was launched. Three power units, the last of which, the gas and vapor unit, was introduced in June 2011, has the installed capacity of 576 megawatts of electricity and 1325.6 Gcal of thermal energy.
Today both federal and international companies are the major players in the power industry of the Southern Urals.
The region is home for the operational area of Chelyabinsk Regional Electrical Power System, which is a part of Unified Energy System of the Urals (Urals United Power System).
The regional electrical power system is operated and controlled by Chelyabinsk branch of JSC System Operator of the United Power System, Regional Dispatch Control of Chelyabinsk Region Power System (Chelyabinsk Regional Dispatch Office). The operational zone is located on the territory of 88.5 thousand square km with a population of 3.5 million people.
Three power generating companies, includingJSC Fortum,TroitskGRESof JSC OGK-2, South Ural GRES, the branch of JSC INTER RAO Electric Power Plants (7 federal power plants) and two electric distribution companies, such asYuzhnouralsk Electric Grid Company of JSC Federal Grid Company of United Energy System and Chelyabenergo, the branch of JSC Interregional Distributive Grid Company of Urals, are located in the region.
Together these power generating companies produce the total of 4416 MW.
In 2012, the power production increased by 4% as compared to 2011 and amounted to 25,670 million kWh, whereas electricity consumption increased by 0.13 % and amounted to 36232.7 million kWh. The consumption in 2012 exceeded power production by 29.5%. The power shortage in the region was covered by flows from the neighboring regional energy systems. The plan to develop thermal power plants before 2016 is supposed to cover the power deficit in Chelyabinsk power system.
JSC INTER RAO Electric Power Plants is planningto launch in turn two units with the capacity of 400 MW each at the constructed Yuzhnouralsk GRES by the end of 2013 and by the end of 2014.
JSC Fortumis finishing the reconstruction of Chelyabinsk CPP-1 and commissioning two power units with the capacity of 44 MW each. The company’s plan is to build two power units with the capacity of 270 MW each in 2016.
Chelyabinsk GRES is building two power units with the capacity of 290 MW each, which are to be commissioned in 2014. Also, the company is planning to build a third power unit with the capacity of 290 MW.
JSC OGK- 2 –TroitskGRESis planning to launch apower generating unit with the capacity of 660 MW by the end of 2015. Thus, by 2016, Chelyabinsk region will get additional 2958 MW of power capacity.