When will the energy system of Ukraine be merged with the European one?
Low reliability and negative impact on the environment. This is roughly how European experts characterize the Ukrainian energy system.
There are no technical obstacles to synchronizing the energy facilities of Ukraine and the EU. And it is quite possible to accomplish this within two or three years. However, for this, Ukrainian power engineers need to work hard.
Acting Energy Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Vitrenko said that the integration of the Ukrainian energy system with the European one is one of the key strategic goals of the ministry for the next three years.
Vitrenko has repeatedly stated that the interconnection of energy systems will increase the stability and energy independence of both Ukraine and the EU from Russia. In addition, such synchronization would contribute to ensuring the security of electricity supplies to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.
Seven years ago, Ukraine signed an Association Agreement with the EU. One of the points of the document provided for the interconnection of power systems. However, the merger agreement was signed only in 2017. The final date is the first quarter of 2023.
Currently, the Ukrainian energy system is in crisis. The country is forced to export electricity from Russia and Belarus. The existing problems can become an obstacle to integration into the European energy system.
Part of the Ukrainian energy system, the Burshtyn energy island, has been disconnected from the rest of the country’s energy system since 2003 and works in the interests of European consumers. The capacities of the Burshtyn thermal power plant, the Kalush thermal power plant, as well as the Tereble-Rik hydroelectric power station account for about 4% of the total production and consumption of electricity in the country.
Representatives of the Ukrenergo company stated that there are no technical problems for integration with the European energy system (ENTSO-E).
In September last year, the ENTSO-E group of companies signed a contract with Ukrenergo to conduct a study, create a model for the joint functioning of two power systems and carry out calculations of their static and dynamic stability.
The final result of the study should be provided in the second half of 2021.
The European system is very large and balanced. There are many renewable energy issues there. Ukraine is also quite close to this turning point. But unlike European energy systems, the country does not yet have such powerful tools for automated management of the generation of renewable energy sources. While this already works on an industrial scale in Europe, they can react very quickly and monitor energy balances.
Ukraine has a plan to disconnect the country’s energy system from Russia and Belarus. The power disconnection is to take place in 2023. Ukraine should receive a model of connection to the European system this year.
The final stage of checking the Ukrainian power system will be its isolated operation from Russia and Belarus for a short period.
And the main thing is not to repeat the situation that has developed this winter. There was a shutdown of a number of power units due to accidents, and the shortage of capacities sharply increased. As a result, Ukraine had to lift the ban on the import of electricity from Russia and Belarus. The volumes of supplies in January-February 2021 from these countries amounted to about 533 million kWh.
Currently, the main part of the claims that ENTSO-E has against Ukrenergo concerns the reliability of the Ukrainian energy system.
Although no one is insured against accidents. For example, the January 8 accident at the Ernestinovo substation in Croatia led to the fact that the European power system was divided into two parts. The division resulted in a capacity deficit in the northwest and overcapacity in the southeast. The problem was solved within an hour, but the fact takes place.
The second important issue for Europeans is ecology. 35% of energy generation in Ukraine is provided by thermal power plants. Therefore, ENTSO-E mayhave questions specifically about the environmental friendliness of the country’s energy system.
Europeans may demand the modernization of thermal power plants or the installation of additional filters. This is very important for the EU countries.There should be no questions about nuclear power plants. The problems that arose at TPPs this winter were associated with a reduction in preventive maintenance due to a shortage of funds. Therefore, it is quite obvious that the budget simply does not have funds for their modernization.
The results of the ENTSO-E are likely to highlight these two main issues: reliability and sustainability. There is a planned date for the merger – 2023. And there are no funds for the modernization of power facilities.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.