Renewable energy generation is one of the key priorities for the Ukrainian energy sector and national economy. However, the current share of energy generated from renewable energy sources – wind, solar, biomass, biogas and small hydro (RES), as well as by big hydropower projects (greater than 10MW) – in Ukraine’s energy mix is still quite insignificant. By 1 July 2019, the share of renewables (including big hydro generation that exceeds 10MW) had reached only 8.8%. According to the “Energy Strategy of Ukraine until 2035”, the government anticipates that the renewable energy share of total energy consumption will exceed 11% by 2020 and reach 25% by 2035.
*Including big hydro generation (exceeding 10MW)
Achieving these targets is both desirable and necessary for the safe and gradual replacement of the worn-out capacities of conventional generation. More than 84% of all thermal power plants (TPP) and combined heat and power plants (CHP) have already exceeded their operating lifetime, and the lifetime of almost 70% of Ukraine’s nuclear power units would also require extension in the next ten years.
Fortunately, Ukraine has reasonably good generation potential in all renewable technologies, especially in biomass and biogas due to the country’s large agricultural sector and available workforce. It is estimated that bioenergy’s installed capacity could reach 15GW. However, under-developed infrastructure and an unstable supply of raw materials means that only a very small number of bioenergy projects have been implemented to date.
Wind energy has the potential to grow to around 15GW. But this would require a huge amount of investment – by private developers in generating facilities, and from the state infrastructure budget to ensure the availability of the grid’s off-taking capacity for wind parks.