Expert on situation in Ukrainian power supply after Russian massive infrustructure strikes

Fire as a result of a Russian strike on a power facility near Kharkiv, March 22
Fire as a result of a Russian strike on a power facility near Kharkiv, March 22

Ukraine has lost 10-12% of its generation capacity as a result of Russian massive missile strikes in the past week, Director of the Energy Industry Research Center (EIR Center), Oleksandr Kharchenko, said to news outlet Interfax-Ukraine on March 29.

"Damage to generation is significant, many generating capacities have been damaged, we have lost more than 10% of the generation that was available on March 20,” said Kharchenko.

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“This is something that will most likely not be restored quickly. Probably, most of these facilities will not be restored by the next autumn-winter period."

He said that the situation is very complicated and requires focused actions not only from the power industry but also from everyone who can influence its improvement.

He noted that National Electricity Company Ukrenergo has ensured high-quality protection of its trunk power grids, has a reserve lines and a flow of equipment for restoration, while the worst situation with both protection and restoration is in coal generation, which was targeted by the enemy.

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"I don't see how coal-fired power units will be restored," Kharchenko said.

He also added that the situation is complicated by the fact that one of the nuclear power units with a capacity of 1 GW is under emergency repair, which did not operate at full capacity even during autumn-winter period "due to technical problems".

"It is impossible to predict when it will be 100% operable again," the analyst said.

Assessing the consequences of the shelling, he noted that they are not as critical as they could be if Russians striked, for example, in February, but difficult times are ahead for the energy sector.

Read also: Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Station suffered critical damage in direct hit from Russian missile

"We are now at the lower spring peak of consumption, and at the same time, the hydropower that can work is operating at full capacity due to the floods,” described situation the Director of the EIR Center.

“But the situation will change in the summer. Summer consumption peak will be in the second half of July-August, and even with maximum imports, it is difficult to predict what the deficit will be."

He said that it is even more difficult to talk about the prospects for the next autumn-winter heating period, preparation for which requires emergency measures and quick response.

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"If we do not at least partially compensate for the existing losses, we will have a significant shortage of generation to cover winter consumption," the expert added, advising Ukrainians to prepare generators and power banks.

As for the development of distributed generation, Kharchenko noted that he does not see any significant efforts by the authorities in this direction.

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He explained reorientation of Russians to targeted attacks on generation by the fact that the attacks on the main power grids they used in winter did not bring the desired result, and most likely they did not have time to organize attacks on generating facilities earlier, while it was cold.

"They realized that the backbone networks were well protected and resilient so they changed their strategy,” he explained.

“But they didn't manage to do it in time. However, the attacks were well-planned, with the involvement of Russian electricians and intelligence. As evidence, many facilities undergoing repairs were hit, and security was removed there. They also began to direct a large number of munitions at one facility, which greatly complicates the work of air defense."

Read also: Dnipro HPP restoration will take years - Ukrhydroenergo

Russia carried out the largest-scale attack on Ukraine's power system since the start of invasion on March 22, including a serious attack on the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant, which suspended its operation. The plant was hit at least eight times.

Ukrenergo reported damage to thermal power plants(TPP) and hydroelectric power plants in the central and western regions of the country. Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said that Russia attacked facilities in Dnipropetrovs'k, Poltava and Cherkasy oblasts.

DTEK reported serious damage to three TPPs.

Centrenergo energy company reported that Russians completely destroyed Zmiivska TPP.

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