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Ukraine's ability to restore its energy infrastructure by winter: Energy Ministry weighs in

Ukraine's ability to restore its energy infrastructure by winter: Energy Ministry weighs in Photo: Will Ukraine be able to restore power supply before winter (Getty Images)

This spring, Russia stepped up its attacks on Ukraine's energy sector, putting several large Ukrainian thermal power plants and combined heat and power plants out of commission. And the Russians continue to target the Ukrainian energy sector, jeopardizing the next heating season.

RBC-Ukraine's article describes how the Ukrainian energy sector is being restored and whether it will be done in time for the winter.

Sources used: Director of the Energy Industry Research Center Oleksandr Kharchenko and Deputy Energy Minister Mykola Kolesnyk, as well as statements by Ukrainian officials.


Expert's forecast

Today, the prospect of a significant increase in small-scale generation facilities before the start of the heating season to provide Ukraine with electricity is unlikely, Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Energy Energy Industry Research Center, tells RBC-Ukraine.

Out of the 2.5 GW that needs to be restored primarily after the Russian shelling of Ukrainian energy infrastructure in 2022-2023 and since March 2024, only about 80 MW can be restored by small power plants. The reason, in his opinion, is that the procurement of gas turbine and gas piston power plants (GTU and GPU) is rather slow.

“And I think that given the situation today, even under the optimistic scenario, there is no likelihood that a significant amount of gas-generating capacity will be restored. It will be possible to restore up to 80 MW of capacity out of the required 2.5 GW,” he says in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

According to market participants, only a few projects for the purchase of up to 10 facilities are currently being implemented. Among them is a project to purchase 4 Steam and gas plants for Odesa and another project for 3 turbines at the final stage.

“There is a chance (to increase supply - ed.) if businesses start purchasing generating capacity for themselves through their procedures. Several companies are doing this,” Kharchenko says.

At the same time, he suggests that it would be possible to get a couple more turbines from Japan.

Ukrainian Ministry of Energy's position

Deputy Energy Minister Mykola Kolesnyk tells RBC-Ukraine that the process of providing Ukraine with small-scale generation facilities is ongoing.

“There are projects of the gas steam and gas turbine plants that have been implemented and are still underway. We have also created tools for local construction, and there are first projects under construction,” Kolesnyk says.

However, the agency couldn't obtain more detailed information about the projects and the level of their implementation from the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine.

Additional small-scale generation capacity

Due to the damage to the energy infrastructure caused by Russian shelling, Ukraine lost 6 GW of generation, which is proportional to the capacity of Zaporizhzhia NPP. It will not be possible to fully restore the lost volumes by the fall, but this is partly possible, among other things, by launching new generation from small power plants (gas steam and gas turbine plants).

But in any case, from May to August, Ukraine will face a shortage of electricity. There will be a shortage of generation, as nuclear units will need to be taken out of service for repairs, and the remaining thermal generation will not be enough to replace the capacity.

Minister of Community Development, Territories, and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said that the government will focus on the construction of small-scale generation facilities.

“In the medium term, large gas turbines with high efficiency are our future. We need several GW of such capacities in the country,” Kubrakov says.

The head of Ukrenergo, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, says that Ukraine needs hundreds of small power plants that Russia could not hit because of their dispersion. This will ensure the stability of the energy system.

Gas steam and gas turbine plants difference

A gas steam plant works on the principle of an internal combustion engine. Installations with a capacity of up to 10 MW - more often 3-5 MW - are quite simple to install.

Gas turbine plant is a more powerful plant - up to 120 MW, but more often 50-60 MW. Their installation is more complicated and takes longer than the installation of a CCGT.

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has already attacked Ukrainian thermal power plants 180 times.

In particular, on the night of April 27, the Russians attacked four thermal power plants of the Ukrainian company DTEK.