Ukraine is looking for a place in the world’s new energy architecture

On October 25-26, Kyiv will host the Eighth Ukrainian Gas and Power Forum. On the eve of the event, Ukraine Crisis Media Center organized a meeting of experts to explain the Forum’s program and set the key accents in the issues of protecting the national energy system, ensuring its independence and identifying points of growth.

“The aggressor wants to destroy us, but we have lived and will live on, and the holding of the Forum confirms this,” said Leonid Unihovskyi, Head of NGO “Expert Council on the Development of the Gas Industry and the Natural Gas Market”. “Practice shows that real decisions and construction projects are made only on the basis of collective discussion and different points of view. The real energy policy of the country must be built on such principles.”

On October 25, the first panel of the Forum will focus on gas issues, from production to purchase, sale and transportation. Representatives of almost all the EU regulatory bodies will speak on the second panel. The third panel will be of comprehensive nature: what we give to Europe and what it gives to us. Among other things, the Forum participants will discuss the prospects of involving the national gas transportation system in hydrogen transportation. And finally, the fourth panel will be a mix involving diplomats, experts and analysts.

The following day, the event will resume work with one of the main panels, which will discuss biomethane issues. Then it is planned to focus on increasing the energy system sustainability in war conditions – what must be done not to repeat the last year situation. There will also be reports on cyber security. The topic of the seventh panel of the Forum is reconstruction, what we will do after the war.

Oleksandr Dombrovskyi, President of MHP Eco Energy, said that when the organizing committee was preparing for the Forum, it was decided that the core idea would be analysis of the world’s new energy architecture. Without understanding this, we won’t be able to find Ukraine’s place in it and make decisions necessary for both the economy and the state as a whole.

“We got used to the ‘energy and peace’ paradigm and constantly looked for solutions for energy policy, independence and security in the peace formula. Today we must look for a completely different formula and understand the ‘energy and war’ paradigm. We see that the formula of war is rapidly changing in terms of technology, and such issues as reliability, innovation, cyber and physical protection of new facilities are becoming more and more important,” Oleksandr Dombrovskyi noted. 

According to him, if we want to set ourselves the task of energy security, we must understand that it will imply the ability of business to protect itself. 

“We have built two large biogas complexes, where we produce biogas, electric energy from it, from which we produce heat, steam, and this gives us a possibility of energy independence and security,” the President of MHP Eco Energy explained. 

Heorhiy Heletukha, Chairman of the Board of the Bioenergy Association of Ukraine devoted his speech to the biomethane prospects. He said that the demand for biomethane is growing in Europe. Now they produce 3.5 billion cubic meters of biomethane per year. By 2030, the EU has set a goal of producing and consuming 10 times more. By 2050, analysts consider the prospect of producing from 90 to 120 billion biomethane per year. It also happens because Europe has made an important political decision to become a CO2-neutral continent by that time. Greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to almost zero. 

The expert noted that Ukraine is not lagging behind in this matter.

“There is already the first plant, the legislation is almost ready, the market is just waiting for the law that will allow Ukraine to export biomethane, and this can happen by the end of the year. Then Ukraine can to some extent take the place of russia in supplying the European Union with renewable gases. Since we have the largest area of agricultural land in Europe, the largest amount of agricultural waste is generated and it can be converted into biomethane. It should be added that Ukraine has a highly developed system of gas distribution networks. We can connect to the gas pipeline almost anywhere and pump biomethane there. Europe is a premium market for us. It is projected to remain in deficit by 2050. Therefore they say that they will buy any volume of biomethane that is offered to them. For Ukraine, this is a unique situation,” Heorhiy Heletukha stressed.

Summarizing the results of the meeting, its moderator, Valeriy Chaly, Chairman of the UCMC Board, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the USA in 2015-2019, switched to military terms.

“In terms of the wartime, we must switch to self-defense, strengthen self-sufficiency and rely on our own strength in the energy sector. And the issues that were discussed today and will be presented at the Forum will undoubtedly increase our security. The energy system sustainability and the supply of energy for consumption will support at least the rear, which greatly affects what our women and men are currently doing at the front,” the Chairman of the UCMC Board emphasized.

According to Valeriy Chaly, holding such a Forum in Kyiv will be very important for offering solutions both for today and the future. The green tariff and green energy are becoming a mandatory part of business plans for the coming years, and it is necessary to find answers together with partners without delay. The recovery plan for Ukraine, which is currently being prepared, must take these priorities into account. 

“This is a very complex solution, and it should be integrated into the overall development system of the country,” he said. – First of all, it is necessary to take into account its security interests and to develop a sustainable system that can withstand future aggression attempts, and provide people with cheaper tools for obtaining energy.”