A “general plan” for Ukraine’s power system

Recently, the Ukrainian regulatory agency (NEURC) has approved the report on assessing conformity (sufficiency) of generating capacities, prepared by Ukrenergo NPC. This is an unordinary event indeed, because it was the first time when such a strategic document was approved. All of its previous versions starting from 2017 had the status of project.

A conformity assessment report is a standard instrument used by EU member states and the entire European community to forecast development of power systems. In particular, the forecasting includes assessment of demand, supply and related risks in a long term, and therefore, it allows to make decisions aimed to enhance security of electricity supply. For example, the Ukrenergo report contains the relevant scenarios until 2050.

In other words, this assessment is necessary to forecast development of the electricity market and understand the ability of power system to meet consumer needs. An adequate capacity level must also be assessed to send the right signals to investors who will build new power stations. Overall, this forecasting must take into account all features typical for power systems of the future: distributed electricity generation, management of demand, increasing capacity of interconnectors, deployment of pumped storage systems and the like.

This is especially important to cope with the increasing share of “green” energy, which demands greater flexibility from the power system. It is worth noting that one of Ukrenergo’s scenarios is a scenario of energy “transition” envisaging achievement of the 70% share of renewable energy and “complete replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and “green” synthesis gas, while the use of nuclear power will be discontinued”.

The operator of Ukraine’s power system has already warned that even in the baseline scenario, the generating capacity does not meet the demand and after 2025, it will be insufficient. Ukrenergo insists that in the nearest two years, we will need to build and launch at least 2 GW of highly maneuverable capacity and electricity accumulation systems (in particular, additional 200 MW to maintain the level of frequency).

In a more remote future, by 2030, the operator says that we need to ensure the availability of TPP and NPP capacity and launch additional capacity of pumped storage power plants. In other words, Ukraine will still need coal-fired and nuclear, and also, new pumped storage power plants in the coming decade.

Surely, an approved report is not a dogma: depending on market situation and technological development, it may and must change to accommodate development of adjacent power systems and the progress in synchronization with ENTSO-E. But even having such a “general plan” is already a step toward building a more reliable and safe power system.

Roman NitsovychResearch Director
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