Kyiv, February 16, 2016. Reduction of energy consumption made up 12-15 percent in comparison with the previous year. At the same time, there is a considerable consumption gap at night, said Oleksandr Svetelik, Deputy Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, during round table discussion at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The difference between night consumption and day consumption reaches 7 million kW, which makes it necessary to unload the system, inclusive of nuclear power stations,” he said. For this purpose, nuclear power stations blocks must be stopped, as they can work by non-intermittent schedule only. The night gap prescribes maximum load for nuclear power stations, said the deputy minister. He said the consumption is insufficient, with Crimean energy system not consuming electricity and Donbas consumption being considerably reduced. According to Svetelik, coal reserves are sufficient, exceeding 2.7 million tons. Simultaneously, experts are looking for the ways to compensate for this consumption loss. “We limited export as much as possible when the winter started […], and stopped exporting electricity to Belarus and Moldova. We will try and open export potential to these two countries. It is hard to predict the results, for our market price is quite high, while lower price is on demand there,” said Svetelik.
Sergiy Chekh, advisor to the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, drew attention to the fact that these are heat generating plants that suffer most from the present situation. “Production reduced by 11 percent last year, and 2014-2015 reduction made up 19 percent, the majority in coal heat generation. Volume of production reduced by 37 percent in two years, he said.
Kostyantyn Petrykovets, deputy director of the Center for new market model implementation, state enterprise “National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom” said that total underutilization of nuclear power generating units is 1.2 thousand MW. “Recent unutilized capacity on the average amounts to 1.2 thousand MW. This is a grave problem, we have the cheapest electricity, but it is not in demand at the moment,” said Petrykovets. He said that the average world price of basic electricity was 24.77 – 35.82 euro per MW/hour in February, and explained that it is lower than out wholesale market price, without consideration of subsidized certificates. In Petrykovets’ opinion, Ukrainian electricity is becoming uncompetitive. The only way out is considering a possibility of selling nuclear power plants electricity, as they are still competitive in the western markets, said the representative of Energoatom.
According to Dmytro Malyar, director of Commercial Analysis Department, “DTEK Energo”, the problem of electricity overproduction is a general problem for any type of generation, and none of the producers can solve it on their own. “As an example, our present-day capacities are enough to fully provide with electricity such a country as Hungary. We should understand it and use our opportunities in the market. If we want to see Ukrainian GDP grow, we must pay attention to the segments which can bring the country additional 10 billion hryvnia per year,” said Malyar. At the same time, Svetelik stated that Ukraine cannot expand the export so far, for it is implementing the project of synchronizing our energy system with the European one. “At present we can only look at increasing export to our neighbors from the same synchronous zone, i.e. Belarus and Moldova,” emphasized the deputy minister.
The coal industry is going through difficult times too, as there is no need to extract additional power station coal, said Mykhailo Volynets, chairman of the Independent Trade Union of Miners of Ukraine and chairman of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine. Power station coal extraction in Ukraine reduced by 38.8% in 2015, and the same dynamics for reduction of coal extraction is allowed for 2017, said Volynets.