Energy Industry

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Energy Industry


(in Russian, energetika), the aggregate of a country’s fuel and energy complexes, to include the production, transmission, conversion, and use of the various types of energy and energy sources. In the second half of the 20th century, under the conditions of the scientific and technological revolution, the needs of human society for various types of energy, primarily electricity, have been increasing rapidly (see Table 1). Quantitative changes have been accompanied by qualitative changes as a result of the massive electrification of the national economy and the shift from an all-coal fuel supply to the extensive use of petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear fuels, the development of energy sources and electric power facilities with unique specifications and transmission ranges, and the formation of integrated energy systems for a country.

Scientific and technological progress in the energy industry is manifested in the development of new methods of producing and converting energy, increases in the size of energy-producing equipment, improvements in the means used to extract energy from resources, the extensive mechanization of the national economy, and the creation of new technology. The different forms of energy, the equipment used to produce it, and the individual energy sources are becoming interchangeable. Energy production and transmission facilities for converted forms of energy (primarily electricity) are becoming more concentrated, energy sources are increasing, and distribution is being centralized.

The science of the energy industry originated in the USSR from the historic GOELRO plan. It investigates laws and methods for the conversion of the potential energy in natural resources into energy forms that can be used in the national economy, the development of new conversion methods, and the improvement of existing methods. In a narrower sense the science, which is based on a systems approach to research, studies the principles, objective trends, and optimum proportions for the development of the energy industry as an entity; it also formulates concepts of optimum industry control and studies complex problems, including the industry’s effect on the environment and the encouragement of scientific and technological progress within the industry.

The Soviet scientific school of power engineering was formed in the 1930’s by G. M. Krzhizhanovskii, and major scientific contributions were made by V. V. Bolotov, V. I. Veits, A. V. Vinter, S. A. Kukel’-Kraevskii, A. E. Probst, E. A. Rusakovskii, M. A. Shatelen, V. A. Kirillin, L. A. Melent’ev, and M. A. Styr-ikovich. Fundamental scientific studies in the field are conducted at the G. M. Krzhizhanovskii Power Institute, the All-Union State Design Institute, the Research and Development Institute for Energy Systems Design, the Siberian Power Engineering Institute of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Institute of High Temperatures of the Academy of

Table 2. Structure of electricity and fuel production in the USSR
Total electricity produced (billion kW-hr) ...............2.048.691.2292.3740.91,150.1
Hydroelectric production ...............0.045.312.750.9124.4147.0
Total fuel extracted (converted to a standard fuel of 7,000 Calories; million tons) ...............48.2237.9311.2692.81,221.81,726.5
Petroleum (including gas condensate) ...............14.744.554.2211.4502.5780.5
Natural gas ...............4.47.354.4233.5410.0
Coal ...............23.1140.5205.7373.1432.7486.0
Other fuels ...............10.448.544.053.953.150.0
Table 3. Structure of fuel consumption in the USSR
Total use (million tons of standard fuel) ...............2803556951,1601,465
For generation of electricity and heat ...............47.593.5239482600
For direct use ...............232.5261.5456678865
percent of total ...............83.574.065.558.459.1

Sciences of the USSR, and the Institute of Integrated Fuel and Energy Problems of the State Planning Committee of the USSR. Planning methods are constantly being improved, automatic control systems are being used for the fuel and power complex (especially for production processes), and an automated system of planning calculations has been created for the fuel and power complex of the USSR.

Systems with unique specifications and geographical extent have been established for electricity, gas, and petroleum supply (which include service to countries that are members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance). Centralized heat supply and district heat and power systems are in operation, and a nuclear power system is being established. The Integrated Electric Power Grid of the USSR has been established on the basis of these systems. The energy industry is a critical foundation for the technical equipping of the national economy, because technological progress and the productivity of social labor depend on the industry’s development level. Annual capital investments in the energy industry increased from 6.6 billion rubles in 1965 to 12.3 billion rubles in 1977, which amounts to nearly 30 percent of the total capital investments in industry. By the mid-1970’s approximately 30 percent of the fixed production capital of industry was concentrated in the energy industry.

The level of development of the energy industry in the Soviet Union as of the mid-1970’s ranked second in the world, surpassing such countries as Great Britain, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany taken together (see Table 2).

The USSR is the only large industrial state in the world that bases its development on domestic fuel and energy resources (seeFUEL INDUSTRY). This is an advantage of the Soviet economy and an important prerequisite for its stable growth. The composition of the fuel and energy complex is being constantly improved to achieve an efficient, integrated use of the different kinds of fuel. The percentage of fuel being used directly is being reduced (see Table 3). The construction of atomic and hydroelectric power plants is being expanded; such plants accounted for 28 percent of the growth in the country’s power generation capacity between 1971 and 1977.

In the socialist countries the energy industry is developing according to current long-range plans and plans for socialist economic integration. The electric power grids of the European countries that are members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance have been joined together in the Mir electric power grid.

Table 4. Energy indicators for selected capitalist countries1 (rounded figures)
 World totalUSAJapanFRGGreat BritainFrance
1Excluding wood resources used for fuel
Electricity generated (19761 billion kW-hr) ...............6,9332,220500328277204
Total consumption of energy sources (1975; million tons of standard fuel) ...............8,6392,464450367321251
Coal peat and shale ...............2,5074717811912943
Petroleum ...............3,570952326181131153
Natural gas ...............1,84986713534729
Hydroelectric and atomic ...............71317433141426

In the industrially developed capitalist countries, the energy industry is being developed at relatively high rates (see Table 4), especially in the USA, Japan, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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