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Step by Step Modernization of Ukrainian Energetic Sector: Reality and Tendencies

Submitted by on 27 Nov 2013 – 10:18

By Professor Igor G.Chervanyov, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, the Regional Centre for Alternative Energetics and Energy Efficiency. Kharkiv, Ukraine

Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe, whose area and population size (over 47 million) lie between those of France and Spain. Vast fossil fuel resources and unwise policies of the past historical period, when energy intensity has been considered a sign of economic growth are among the main reasons that have lead to a situation which has not always seen effective development of the Ukraine energy sector. Obviously, the situation as described above, is incompatible with promising economic opportunities provided by the present stage of modern development of the energetic sector of the Ukrainian economy.

Modern Energy Management Strategy

In recent years, modern Ukrainian authorities have taken a number of vigorous efforts towards critical improvement of the situation by a consistent “step by step” strategy. Among these large efforts embodied in the Energetic Strategy of Ukraine in years 2012-2030, the three steps are of tremendous importance, specifically: energy saving, reducing consumption of traditional fuels, and development of alternative (unconventional, renewable) energetics. The strategic programme specifically implies the reduction of energy intensity as a percentage of GDP, a 20% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere and the development and using of alternative energy sources. As a useful by-product of performing this “step by step” strategic program, we expect essential diminishing in the impact on climate change.

Implementing the described step-by-step strategy, the legislative and executive branches of the Ukrainian Government have taken a number of critical steps that clearly indicate the intention of Ukrainian society to become a fully recognized EU member.

Step-by-step development of Alternative Energetics

The Law of Ukraine “On Alternative Energy Sources” first accepted in 2003 and accomplished only recently (2009, 2013), has legislated two basic actions:

  • implementation of the “green” (feed-in) tariff (a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies, including those based on solar, wind, mini-hydro and biomass sources)
  • legal obligations of the compulsory inclusion of alternative energy into the power grid of the country or any of its regions. The implementation of the “green” tariff under the described Law has created very favorable conditions for renewable energy producers.

At present, Ukraine presents a rapidly evolving market for developing alternative energetics based on the extensive use of the solar and wind power stations. Currently, the cost of the electricity produced from ground-mounted solar power plants is one of the highest in the world (4.2-4.8, depending on the conditions). For wind and bio-energy sources this factor is greater than 2. The described indicators of high efficiency of the alternative energetic sources has caused a “boom” in the development of this sector of innovation, including the active involvement of international business.

The main practical conditions for introducing the “green” tariff are:

  • the presence of owned of borrowed power generation equipment operating on unconventional energy sources
  • the availability of ready-to-go power generating facility connected to a network (in the case of construction of a new facility).

As one useful consequence of the described developments, a number of solar power stations and wind power stations have been installed and set in operation in the year 2012. These stations are considered to be among the largest stations of their kind in the world based on their installed capacity and output volume.

Last but not least, these recent achievements have directly stimulated an improvement in the trends and quality of environmental education in Ukraine ( technical, geographical and ecological), observed in recent years.

Educational aspects

Development of education in the academic fields relevant to alternative energy is one of the most important aspects that determines the future of innovations in the energetic sector of Ukraine. The positive trends of the alternative energetics of Ukraine are in turn inspired by the progress in the academic development in this field, which has been significantly pushed forward by international co-operation. To name several successful examples of international co-operation directly involving the author as a co-ordinator, I would like to mention the first scientific and educational international project TEMPUS-TASIS (2001-2004), which has been performed by a consortium of universities in Ukraine (two universities), UK, France and Spain. This co-operation has resulted in many significant achievements in alternative energetics – relevant education in Karazin Kharkiv National University (KKhNU).

As a second example, the Faculty of Physics and Energy with a unique specialism “Energy Management” were created in KKhNU. At this faculty, the Regional Center for Alternative Energetic and Energy Efficiency has been established. Among the most important tasks of this Center are the future studies of the resources of alternative energy available in Ukraine and supporting innovation in its rational use. Yet another central objective of the created Center is an international exchange of professors and students, designed to support progress in this innovation field. In addition, the Center supports all sorts of student activity and initiatives of researches in the practical work on the improvement of alternative energetics. This includes small projects in increasing energy efficiency, rational use of resources and management of local energetics. To set a model example of an outstanding student project, I mention the innovation project on the development of warming of selected student campuses, which has been accepted for realization in the innovation programme of energy efficiency of KKhNU. Some of the students who volunteered in the Programme TEMPUS have accomplished Master Degrees in the specialism of “Management of Regional Development of Renewable Resources” and have continued towards their PhD studies in this field.

Currently, the Center for Alternative Energetic and Energy Efficiency actively contributes towards innovations in the Ukrainian energy sector, which is considered to be one of the most promising fields in the world of high technologies supporting sustainable development, the main strategic task of this century.