Great renewable energy potential in Ukraine

Great renewable energy potential in Ukraine

Ukraine’s renewable energy market becomes ever more important, especially with the steep increase in gas price and the adoption of green-tariff price incentives for electricity from renewable energy sources in 2009. The government set a green tariff for power produced from renewable sources which is two times higher than the wholesale price for power produced from traditional sources. It is widely expected that the introduction of the green tariff will boost activity in the sector. Other preferences include duty-free imports and exemptions from value-added taxes. Ukraine’s mid-term energy strategy targets a level of 10% of renewables until 2030, the potential for renewables being much higher. (Renewable Energies Export Initiative, German Ministry of Economics and Technology)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is ready to invest in the development of renewable energy in Ukraine, outlined EBRD's regional manager and director for Ukraine Andre Kuusvek in June 2011."We would like to finance private enterprises that offer renewable energy projects. We have currently received 37 applications for wind, small hydropower, and bioenergy. I think that this will turn into concrete projects, and this will happen very soon." EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of April 30, 2011, the bank had invested over EUR 6.2 billion in 271 projects.

According to Inogate (the international energy co-operation program between the European Union and Ukraine and other Central and Eastern European countries), Ukraine has enormous potential for energy efficiency as its “energy intensity” is inordinately high. The energy saving potential has been determined at almost 50% of the volumes of used fuel and energy resources.

The Ukrainian photo voltaic market is relatively new but attractive. First solar power plants are being realised. The German-Chinese joint venture Sinsol for instance has realised a 20 MW solar power plant for an Ukrainian investor in the Crimea region, using inverters from SMA and crystalline modules from Jinko Solar. The average amount of solar energy received annually in Ukraine is about 1,200 kWh/m2 (4300 MJ/m2 ).

Activ Solar GmbH of Vienna in October 2011 announced the completion of the fourth and last phase of the solar-park Ohotnikovo. With a total capacity of 80 MW consisting of 360,000 PV-modules reaching over 160 hectars, Ohotnikovo is one of the biggest photovoltaic power plants ever realized in Central Europe and definitely the largest in Eastern Europe.

The greatest wind energy potential is located in the vast areas adjacent to the Black Sea and the Azov Sea, as well as the Carpathian, Transcarpathian and Lower Carpathian areas. More than two-thirds of Ukraine’s total estimated renewables’ potential is attributable to biomass. US$ 1-2bn is needed to install 12GW of wood and straw combustion capacity. (Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting, Kiev)

Ukraine has considerable geothermal resources that can be used mainly for heat supply. There are also prospects for binary geothermal power plant creation based on existing wells at abandoned oil and gas fields. At present thermal water is used for municipal heat supply and in agriculture in the western and central part of Crimea.

The estimated total potential of the Ukrainian hydropower generation is close to 20 billion kWh of electricity per year. For small hydro alone, the estimated potential is about 2,500 million kWh of which only 170 million kWh is currently being utilised.