One month has now passed since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. An act of aggression that has increasingly targeted Ukraine’s civilian as well as military infrastructure, including its energy system.
Eurelectric’s Associate Member DTEK is extensively involved in Ukraine’s energy sector, generating, trading, distributing, and supplying electricity and as a result has led a heroic effort to repair and maintain a network that keeps the lights on for millions of innocent civilians. As an example of these efforts, during the week 14-20 March DTEK reconnected over 200 settlements to the electricity grid.
The intense disruption that resulted from the conflict has led to a drop in daily electricity consumption from 18-19 GW pre-invasion to 12-13 GW today, that being said the power system has remained stable with network frequency maintained at 50Hz since the beginning of hostilities. The generation mix broadly adapted by decreasing nuclear generation by 40% and curtailing RES, while thermal and hydropower provided operational reserves.
The power system has performed so consistently that on 16 March the TSOs of Continental Europe agreed to start the trial synchronisation of the Continental European Power System with the power systems of Ukraine and Moldova. This historic milestone was supported by the European Commission, ACER, and CEER and will further support the stability of the Ukrainian energy system.
Meanwhile, in terms of energy resources, extensive supplies of coal (1028 thousand tonnes as of 24 March) ensure that reserve power sources in Western Ukraine are well supplied. Regarding wind power, however, generation has almost completely halted with 89% of capacity located in zones with active hostilities and a further 9% bordering those zones. Even more concerning is the situation surrounding the Zaporizhzhya and Chernobyl nuclear power stations which have both been seized by Russian forces, with the IAEA currently working on a deal to guarantee the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.
Financial resources may prove more finite than energy resources. The costs of financing the electricity market amount to around $200mn per month in a context where consumption, and so revenues, have decreased. It is here that the synchronisation of the grid may alleviate some pressure by allowing the export of excess capacity into Ukraine’s neighbouring markets.
It is this economic context that makes the humanitarian efforts of DTEK Group all the more admirable be it providing free electricity to hospitals and bakeries across the country, generators to exposed communities, or coal to trains evacuating civilians. We are glad to see that these efforts have experienced some support this month by companies throughout the European energy sector seeking to either respond to the operational needs of their Ukrainian counterparts or directly aid citizens caught on the front line.
Since the start of the war, ten DTEK employees have died as a result of hostilities. Eurelectric expresses its deep condolences to their families and friends as well as those of every victim of the war and we hope for a rapid end to the conflict.
Find out more with our dedicated page on the war in Ukraine and its impact on energy prices.