When people talk about Russia and energy, it’s usually about their exports of oil and gas and the political games they play with both. From expropriating resources from domestic companies to leveraging supplies, Russia is painted (with no little justification) as the bad guy in the Great Game.
But Russia is also the world’s 3rd largest energy consumer, with almost 6% of global energy used in this huge country. In 2012 Russia burnt about 33 quads, half that of the U.S. or China, but more than 4th place India, which burnt 32 quads and gets a lot more attention because of it.
Partly that’s because Russia’s population is declining, as is their industrial base. They really don’t do much in Russia anymore, besides fossil fuel extraction. So their energy consumption going forward is not anticipated to be a major factor in the global picture.
But really, the other reason is that so much of Russia’s fuel consumption is provided by either natural gas (56%), hydropower and nuclear energy. Only 77 of their power plants are powered by coal.
Russia exports huge quantities of oil, gas and coal (they are the world’s sixth largest exporter of coal)–but they’re relatively clean inside their borders.
Now if that doesn’t go against everything you’ve heard about Russia, tell me what would.