Brave to bring light. Energy Day is marked in Ukraine
Today Energy Day is marked in Ukraine. It is a professional holiday for workers in the power engineering and electrical industry of Ukraine. It marks a recognition of the energy industry workers’ contribution to economic development, improvement, and maintenance of everyday life.
The issue of energy is currently very acute in Ukraine since the country is in the middle of an energy crisis. According to Razumkov think-tank, In 2019, Ukraine entered the TOP-10 countries in the world in terms of renewable energy development rates, and in 2020 — the TOP-5 European countries in terms of solar energy development rates. In 2021, Ukraine was in 48th place for the total investment potential of the state among 136 countries in the world in the BloombergNEF rating.
In the last ten years alone, leading international and Ukrainian RES investors have attracted more than USD 12 billion of foreign direct investment into the economy of Ukraine. The share of foreign investors in the installed RES capacity as of the end of 2021 has reached more than 35%, which characterized the Ukrainian RES sector as quite competitive and open. Today, the list of the largest international creditors and investors in the RES sector in Ukraine includes the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Black Sea Bank for Trade and Development, the American International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), the Federal Land Bank of Bavaria BayernLB, the Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU), the Northern Environmental Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and many others. Thus, the geography of investments in the construction of Ukrainian renewable energy power plants extends to organizations or individual investors from China, the USA, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Turkey, etc.
As stated on the website of the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine, the full-scale invasion began four hours after the energy system of Ukraine was disconnected from the energy systems of the Russian Federation and Belarus. Energy went into the isolated mode of operation in preparation for future synchronization with the European unified energy system. For three weeks instead of three days, the Ukrainian energy system worked in an isolated mode and, despite active hostilities, proved its stability. On March 16, 2022, a year earlier than planned, the UES of Ukraine was synchronized with the unified European energy system ENTSO-E. From the first days of the war, the energy front gave a worthy rebuff to the enemy.
Ukrainian electricity, which was exported to the EU after synchronization, as well as via separate lines to Moldova and Poland, helped Europe replace Russian gas and supported the stability of the European energy system. Even after the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has been under Russian occupation for more than seven months, was stopped, Ukraine fulfilled its obligations to its European partners for electricity export. On Oct. 10, 2022, Ukraine stopped exporting electricity due to Russian missile attacks on energy facilities.
According to the Ministry, enemy missiles and drones have damaged all thermal and hydroelectric power plants. During the last shelling on Dec. 16, 2022, nine generation facilities were damaged due to another massive Russian missile attack. Currently, there is a critical shortage of electricity in Ukraine. The Zaporizhzhia NPP has been under occupation since March 2022. The Chornobyl NPP was occupied for over a month and looted. Power grids, substations, and gas distribution networks were destroyed. Millions of consumers remain without electricity and gas supply.
In the occupied regions of Ukraine, the rights of energy workers are constantly being violated by Russia. According to Bloomberg, the Russian occupiers are forcing employees of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to sign contracts with Rosatom under the threat of mobilization. The number of threats to NPP workers is growing, as pressure on workers from the Russian military is increasing, and people are forced to work several shifts in a row.
Almost since the beginning of the war, equipment and materials have been coming from international partners. Poland, Italy, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Estonia send the equipment and spare parts necessary to restore energy facilities. The Secretariat of the Energy Community plays a significant role in the humanitarian aid coordination from European companies and countries.
In addition to solving the urgent issues of restoring the energy infrastructure, the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy is already developing long-term projects for the post-war restoration of the energy sector. Thus, Energy Minister German Galushchenko presented potential investment projects in various sectors of Ukrainian energy for a total amount of more than $120 billion as part of the Conference on the Restoration of Ukraine in Lugano on July 4-5, 2022.
Since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion, all energy utilities have been working in close, uninterrupted cooperation to keep the lights on in Ukrainian homes and critical infrastructure running. Energy makes it possible for businesses to work and for citizens to continue living in comfortable conditions. But each successive attack makes the work of energy companies more and more difficult.
There are three most potent energy companies operating in Ukraine. DTEK — a private energy holding company. It produces electricity at the solar, wind, and thermal power plants, mines coal, and natural gas, trades energy resources on Ukrainian and foreign markets, distributes electricity and manages power grid infrastructure, supplies consumers with electricity, and offers energy-efficient solutions. Ukrenergo is a private joint stock company with 100% state-owned shares, managed by the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine. It ensures the balance of production and consumption of electricity and capacity in the power system in real-time, the operation and development of trunk and interstate power grids, the parallel operation of the power system of Ukraine with the power systems of neighboring countries, and the technical possibility of export/import of electricity to four countries of the European Union and neighboring countries. Energoatom is a state enterprise operating all four nuclear power plants in Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia NPP, Rivne NPP, South Ukraine NPP, and Khmelnytskyi NPP). It is the largest power producer in Ukraine. Their mission is safe electricity generation for energy security, energy independence, sustainable development of the economy, and a carbon-free energy future for Ukraine.
At the same time, Ukrainian energy workers make maximum efforts and, even despite the risk to life, restore energy supply to homes, hospitals, schools, and enterprises every day. Energy companies from regions less affected by the war provide assistance and transfer equipment to colleagues in the region, which suffered significant destruction from fighting and shelling.
The work of energy infrastructure workers in Ukraine today resembles Sisyphean labor. They work tirelessly and regenerate energy every time after being shelled and attacked by Shaheds. Ukrainians live according to energy blackout schedules, but in conditions of shelling, workers simply do not have time to restore the system’s functionality between arrivals.
We thank all the country’s energy workers for their hard work under war conditions. They are brave enough to bring light even in times of the greatest darkness.