Ukraine emerging from winter with power capacity surplus, energy reserves - Energy Ministry
MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) - Ukraine is closing the heating season with a surplus of capacity and sufficient reserves of energy resources, and is already preparing for the next autumn-winter period, Ukrainian media reported, citing information from the country's Energy Ministry in social networks.
"We are emerging from a difficult winter fully provided with fuel. As of March 3, coal reserves in the warehouses of thermal power plants and combined heat and power plants amounted to 1.16 million tonnes, which is 375,000 tonnes more than on the same date last year. Natural gas reserves in underground storage facilities in Ukraine amounted to 9.7 billion cubic meters, about level with last year's volumes," Energy Minister German Galushchenko said.
He said that key energy facilities were damaged during the crisis - thermal, CHP plants, hydro and hydro storage plants and substations.
"A shortage of generating and transformer capacity has arisen in Ukraine's energy system. In the most critical period, the number of disconnected consumers exceeded 13.5 million metering points, which is more than 80% of customers," the minister said, adding that at the same time, Ukrainian power engineers were able to meet the basic needs of critical infrastructure facilities.
Galushchenko said the energy system had been ensuring a balance of supply and demand without consumer restrictions for more than 20 days in a row. This was achieved due to the early completion of repairs at NPP generating units, the prompt restoration of a number of thermal power units, favorable weather conditions and an increase in generation at hydro and solar power plants.
Preparations for the next heating season have already begun. Damaged generating capacity that can feasibly be restored is being repaired, Galushchenko said. Transmission and distribution systems are being restored, and projects are being carried out for the construction of small-scale gas generation.
He said renewable energy was also expected to develop actively, and government programs are planned to stimulate the construction of low-capacity standby power systems, which provide for the installation of solar panels or wind turbines with energy storage and hybrid inverters that can operate both offline and in synchronization with the grid.