Two weeks ago, war broke at the EU’s borders, putting Ukrainians and critical infrastructures in harm’s way. Multiple support initiatives coordinated by public authorities, companies and individuals have rapidly emerged. And the efforts continue.
Over 900 cities and towns across Ukraine were without heat or light on 10 March. Over one million people lost access to electricity in the regions of Donetsk, Mariupol, and Kiev. The threat is heightened by continuous attacks, which led to the destruction of power plants (Okhtyrka) and high-voltage substations, as well as the capturing of nuclear (Zaporizhzhia), hydro (North of Kiev) and combined heat and power plant in Luhansk.
Crews from DTEK, the biggest energy utility in Ukraine and Eurelectric’s business associate, are making sustained effort to restore electricity supply to consumers across the country, with over 300 settlements being restored, since the war began. However, in areas where hostilities continue, shelling has impaired their efforts and their equipment was damaged.
Responding to a request from the Ukrainian Ministry for Energy, as well as national utilities, EU companies are providing technical assistance and necessary equipment, to help re-establish the functioning of the electricity networks damaged in combat.
The support offered by European utilities takes different forms:
- E-distribuție Dogrogea (Enel, Romania), Delgaz (E.ON, Romania), ZSDIS (Slovakia and Czechia), Ignitis Group (Lithuania), and PGE Dystrybucja (Poland), have managed to transfer to Ukraine seven generators and logistics.
- Other companies, including Iberdrola and CEZ, are supporting the accommodation of almost 400 family members of DTEK workers, thus allowing critical staff to focus on maintaining the energy system.
- Financial and food product donations are also coordinated by utilities, such as Latvernergo.
- Several energy majors have announced plans to divest from Russian projects or halt their collaboration until further notice. For instance, Vattenfall has decided to stop planned deliveries of nuclear fuel, while Orsted has stopped sourcing coal and biomass for their power plants. Siemens, and Siemens Gamesa have also stopped all new business, while Uniper has taken the decision to record a full impairment loss on its loan to Nord Stream 2.
- E.DSO set up a Coordination Team to support their Ukrainian DSO member, DTEK Grids. One of their first actions was to grant a strong network of cybersecurity professionals.
Currently, Ukraine is effectively an energy island after disconnecting from the Russian and Belarussian grid, initially in an attempt to test potential synchronisation with the EU electricity grid. The country solely relies now on its own electricity generation capacity. So far, the Ukrainian grid is at a stable frequency of 50 Hertz, according to Ukrainian TSO Ukrenergo.
Utilities continue to monitor the situation and remain committed to enable the necessary support to ensure safe, reliable and continuous operations of the electricity industry.