Energy security: Ukrainians need back-up options for the supply of electricity, heat, and water
A representative of DiXi Group took part in the international security forum “Building Resilience, Ensuring Stability, Welfare”, held on October 11-13, 2022 in Chisinau (Moldova).
DiXi Group Director of Analytical Research Roman Nitsovych, in his speech at the forum, touched on the topics of energy security and sustainability in some very practical, people-centered terms given the consequences of the war started by Russia.
“As a result, actual resilience comes at a cost. For some countries, it is rising prices for fuel and electricity, for some, it means market interventions and slowdown in reaching the decarbonization goals. Yet for Ukraine, it is a matter of survival – not just as a nation, but in brutally biological meaning, he said. “Russia made the energy sector as one of the war targets, to leave Ukrainians without access to electricity, water supply, and district heating.”
As you know, as of September, Russia occupied or damaged about 40% installed power capacity, thousands of km of electricity and gas networks, and other energy infrastructure. It destroyed the entire oil refining industry and many fuel depots, and several cogeneration plants, and damaged many district heating facilities (over 300 boiler rooms and houses).
The latest mass missile strikes on October 10-11 became the biggest attack on Ukraine’s energy system since the beginning of the war. They targeted the entire power chain to make it difficult to reconnect and provide power from other sources. Infrastructure was damaged in more than 20 settlements, electricity supply was disrupted in 15 regions. Targets – TPPs (Burshtynska and Ladyzhynska) and substations (those that also provided export).
As a result of the Russian attacks, the export of electricity from Ukraine was stopped, and the consequences are well-known in Moldova.
Russia has also resorted to nuclear terrorism. Zaporizhzhia NPP is currently turned into a military base, Roman Nitsovych reminded.
“In winter, we may see another turn in the Russian energy blackmail, trying to destabilize European energy markets and split the European unity,” the expert noted.
To survive in the cold season, Ukraine has already accumulated 14 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves and 2 million tons of coal. For those cities and communities that are threatened by enemy attacks, a stockpile of equipment and spare parts is being formed to ensure that the networks are repaired as soon as possible.
According to Roman Nitsovich, the priority is the purchase and distribution of mobile boiler houses, mobile generators, water purification systems, pumping stations, because people must have back-up options for the supply of electricity, heat, and water.
He noted that part of the equipment continues to arrive from international partners as humanitarian aid. “In this regard, I would praise the operation of the Ukraine Support Task Force at the Energy Community Secretariat, an independent institution in Vienna, Austria. It coordinates door-to-door delivery of equipment, fuels, and materials for the Ukrainian energy companies to repair infrastructure. Over 12,000 items are on the list of urgently needed in Ukraine. Apart from in-kind emergency support, financial contributions could be made to the Ukraine Energy Support Fund”.
Roman Nitsovych told the participants of the conference about examples of needs that local communities have.
In his opinion, the following important issues need to be ensured at the international level for long-term sustainability: supply diversification (Germany’s vulnerability due to its dependence on Russian gas, while Poland last week began receiving Norwegian gas via the Baltic Pipe in addition to its LNG terminal); interconnection (obvious advantages of synchronizing energy systems of Ukraine and Moldova with the continental network of Europe, advantages of gas connections between Poland and Slovakia, Greece and Bulgaria); decarbonization and decentralization (the network of smaller power and heat production plants is less vulnerable, the reconstruction also takes into account RES, in particular, biomass makes any country less dependent on fossil fuels from autocrats); solidarity (joint gas purchases, embargoes or agreed price restrictions on Russian trade in oil and oil products).
The event was held by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) “Viitorul” (Moldova).