Ukraini­ans charge up re­new­ables com­mit­ments


LON­DON — Right in the heart of Lon­don on Oct. 10, Ukrainian of­fi­cials and ex­perts reaf­firmed their na­tion's com­mit­ment to gen­er­at­ing 25 per­cent of the coun­try's en­ergy from re­new­ables be­fore the year 2035.

The pledge was given at a re­new­able en­ergy con­fer­ence fo­cused on Ukraine at the head­quar­ters of the Eu­ro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment, part of the Ukrainian Week in Lon­don and just two days af­ter the United Na­tions is­sued a crit­i­cal warn­ing about “dis­as­trous” con­se­quences if global warm­ing re­mains un­ad­dressed.

The UN's In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change, or IPCC, said on Oct. 8 that the planet faces cat­a­strophic con­se­quences un­less the global com­mu­nity un­der­takes "rapid, far-reach­ing and un­prece­dented changes in all as­pects of so­ci­ety."

For its part, Ukraine is step­ping up and seems to be punch­ing above its weight in the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor — de­spite hav­ing con­sid­er­able re­serves of nat­u­ral gas.

Of­fi­cials in Lon­don said that Ukraine was work­ing hard to meet the same re­new­ables goals set in the Eu­ro­pean Union, while ex­perts af­firmed that the coun­try was on track to reach a 25-per­cent share of re­new­able en­ergy in to­tal out­put be­fore 2035, even though the coun­try only cur­rently pro­duces 2 per­cent of its en­ergy from re­new­ables.

Re­cent years have seen sig­nif­i­cant growth in re­new­able en­ergy projects across Ukraine, but mostly in the sunny south and south-east­ern coastal re­gions. The growth has been en­cour­aged by lu­cra­tive feed-in tar­iffs, EBRD sub­si­dies and sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est from prospect­ing Eu­ro­pean in­vestors.

For ex­am­ple, on Sept. 6, Nor­we­gian com­pany NBT AS signed a mul­ti­mil­lion-euro con­tract with the Power Con­struc­tion Cor­po­ra­tion of China Lim­ited, or POWERCHINA, to build a large 250-megawatt wind power plant in Kher­son Oblast. Scatec So­lar, an­other Nor­we­gian com­pany, has signed agree­ments se­cur­ing two projects with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 83 megawatts in cen­tral Ukraine. Other in­vestors in the past two years alone in­clude: Eco Op­tima, UDP Re­new­ables, TIU Canada, Rengy De­vel­op­ment, Re­com, and Rener.

prof­itabil­ity in re­new­able en­ergy is heavily driven by reg­u­la­tion and rates — so that un­cer­tainty has to be re­moved.”

Wil­liam Cop­poolse, CEO of ENGIE Ukraine, said French multi­na­tional ENGIE was eye­ing more re­new­able ac­qui­si­tions and in­vest­ments in Ukraine.

“We're mov­ing very strongly into re­new­ables…glob­ally, ENGIE will reach 11,000 megawatts of out­put by 2021 — that's Ukraine's to­tal tar­get be­fore 2035,” he said, adding that Ukrainian devel­op­ers should be mind­ful of con­serv­ing the en­ergy they have, and not just pro­duc­ing more.

In Lon­don, re­new­able en­ergy is an area of prospec­tive in­vest­ment that has cre­ated pal­pa­ble ex­cite­ment at con­fer­ences this week.

Some in­vestors pointed to op­por­tu­ni­ties linked to the ex­pected growth in Ukraine’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor — farms will look to in­stalling bio­fuel, wind and so­lar tech­nol­ogy to re­duce costs and max­i­mize prof­its from ris­ing out­put.

In­vestor con­fi­dence in the sec­tor is also stronger than ever be­fore, as Ukraine moves to pass new laws that streamline in­vestor en­try to the sec­tor and pro­tect busi­nesses from any changes in en­ergy tar­iffs.

“In­vestors can al­ready seek ar­bi­tra­tion un­der both in­ter­na­tional and Ukrainian law — through in­ter­na­tional en­ergy treaties to which Ukraine is a sig­na­tory — if they en­counter a dis­pute,” said Anna Vlasyuk, a lawyer for Ukraine’s Na­tional In­vest­ment Coun­cil.

Rengy De­vel­op­ment's Gli­bo­chok So­lar II project in Vin­nyt­sia Oblast has a 6.4-megawatt ca­pac­ity. The re­new­able en­ergy com­pany has more than a dozen projects across Ukraine. Other in­vestors in Ukraine's re­new­ables sec­tor in­clude: Eco Op­tima, UDP Re­new­ables, TIU Canada, Re­com, Rener, NBT AS, and Scatec So­lar. (Rengy De­vel­op­ment)

Ro­man Voloshchak, a power en­gi­neer, de­scends the stairs of one of the four wind tur­bines at the Eco-Op­tima wind farm, lo­cated near the western Ukrainian town of Staryi Sam­bir, on Feb. 21, 2017. (Yu­liana Ro­manyshyn)

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