Ukrainian energy minister on how war affecting energy production
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Speaking via video link to the International Energy Agency conference in Denmark this week, German Galushchenko said the power losses had been “wholly or partly due to the damaged caused by the war”. Russian forces have attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure since entering the country in February, and have seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Despite mourning the loss of “a lot” of staff in Ukraine’s energy sector, Mr Galushchenko remained optimistic that the energy sector would be rebuilt stronger once the war had come to a close.
In the southern region of the country, Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – the largest in Europe – after dangerous and widely-condemned shelling of the site.
Only today (Saturday) was Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company able to restore internet connection to the station, so that the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Russian forces also attempted to take the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but transferred control back to Ukrainian authorities at the end of March.
In the opening days of the conflict, the invading forces targeted a gas pipeline in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Other installations have also reportedly been hit.
Mr Galushchenko lamented the “devastating impact on our national economy” Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war had inflicted on the country, as well as the countless civilian losses.
He added: “According to my data, the losses of the Ukrainian energy sector are estimated to be more than €2billion.
“Every day we repair our energy infrastructure again and again, because there is a lot of destruction.”
Mr Galushchenko told the conference 4,200,000 settlements in Ukraine had been “de-energised”.
Meanwhile, more than five million consumers had been cut off from their electricity supply since the war began, he said.
Mr Galushchenko continued: “Today [Wednesday], for instance, it’s still something around 170,000 people have no gas in their houses, and something around 700,000 have no electricity.
“That is very difficult to repair.”
When those repairs come, Ukraine is not looking for a return to the status quo, but sees the destruction as an opportunity to improve their energy infrastructure to become a sustainability powerhouse.
Mr Galushchenko wants an “accelerated roll-out of renewables”, and noted the “huge progress” Ukraine had made towards clean energy before the outbreak of hostilities.
At present, the nation’s energy mix is already constituted with around 70 percent carbon-free fuel sources, including a mix of nuclear power and renewable sources.
Though renewables make up just a small proportion of that total – Ukraine relying on its many Soviet-era nuclear power plants, including Zaporizhzhya – Mr Galushchenko hopes Ukraine can increase its renewable sources to a quarter of its energy consumption by 2030.
Chasing these Net Zero goals “will demand huge efforts in investment,” he said.
But, he continued, “it will become an opportunity to reshape the Ukrainian energy sector.”
The Ukrainian energy minister continued: “Therefore we should build the energy sector as it must be in Europe, to try to be climate neutral by 2050.”
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