What Are the Upcoming Highlights and Prospects for the Current Heating Season?

October 26, 2022
UkraineWorld spoke to Volodymyr Omelchenko, Director of energy and infrastructure programs of the Razumkov Center.

Key points — in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1. On the government's response to energy challenges

  • The response is quite satisfactory given the unprecedented attacks by Iranian drones as well as missile strikes. Energy companies like Centrenergo, DTEK, and Ukrenergo are currently coordinating their actions. Within a few hours of Russia's massive strikes on the Ukrainian power grid on October 15, energy supply was restored in most Ukrainian territories. 
  • The most challenging situation is in the area of ​​active hostilities due to constant fire from howitzers and volley fire systems. The power system is now functioning as stable as possible now.

2. On plans for the current heating season

  • Last year, peak consumption in winter occurred at a power of 24-25 gigawatts. This year, consumption is supposed to be around 17-18 GW. Thus, consumption will be reduced by 30%. 
  • Our capacities cover peak loads even without the Zaporizhzhia NPP. We expect to be able to cover 16 GW, leaving a 1 GW deficit during peak periods in winter. Ukrenergo is likely to formulate schedules of emergency shutdowns in order to reduce energy consumption.
  • To date, Ukraine has built up reserves of more than 14.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas. It is coal reserves which may come up short. The current amount of 2 tons of coal may not be sufficient because thermal power plants will need to fill in for the nuclear units currently out of commission, including the six units of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Ukraine may run a deficit of 200,000-300,000 tons of coal in the autumn-winter period. At the same time, we have additional, unused gas-oil units at thermal stations.
  • The Ukrainian system is one of the most extensive in Europe. They are designed to provide capacity of 40-50 GW, even in the face of major destruction. More than 40% of this power generation capacity is located in occupied territory and combat zones. Again, due to constant bombing, it is difficult to say how long the energy system will last. Ukraine therefore needs air defense and anti-drone systems to protect its remaining energy facilities.

3. On the shortage of maneuvering reserve capacities

  • A deficit may develop if devastating strikes against thermal power plants continue. This deficit of shunting reserve capacities will be compensated by hydroelectric power plants and introduction of a stricter emergency shutdown schedule.
  • Energy exports have been suspended for obvious reasons (the destruction on Burshtynsky Island) since October 11. Currently, national energy needs are top priority. On the other hand, ongoing fighting and the loss of energy export capacity, which brought up to 150 million euros every month, will worsen the financial state of Ukraine's energy enterprises.

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.

Volodymyr Omelchenko, Director of energy and infrastructure programs of the Razumkov Center