Can Ukraine dodge power cuts this winter?
Since the end of last winter, Ukrainian power stations have failed to rebuild their coal stocks. As a result, an electricity shortage worse than the one in 2020 may hit Ukraine, according to Head of the Analytical Department at Concorde Capital Oleksandr Parashchiy.
Speaking in an interview with NV Business published on Dec. 20 Parashchiy said that in November 2021 Ukrainian power plants cut output significantly in order to reduce fossil fuel use.
The drop in power output was compensated for by an increase in net electricity imports and an increase of power generation at Ukraine’s nuclear power plants.
Renewable energy production continues to operate to the planned capacity, and overall energy consumption this year has been slightly below expected levels.
These trends seem on track to continue in December. According to the Energy Ministry’s forecast, this month Ukrainian power stations will consume less than 2 million tons of coal.
Parashchiy says this means power stations are generating less electricity than usual. Combined heat and power plants are likely to try to save energy as well, he said.
“It seems like the drop in power plant production will be made up for by leveraging nuclear plants and net imports,” Parashchiy said. “I’m hopeful there will be no bad weather. It’s also crucial that power consumption (stays low) and renewable energy sources don’t let us down.”
Parashchiy predicts that Ukraine could avoid power cuts this winter if the following conditions are met: First, coal supplies to power stations need to hit the planned 65,000 tons a day. Second, the nuclear plants need to be able to increase generation without suffering any faults. Last, there has to be good weather, and Ukraine’s net electricity imports should remain at least at the current level.
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