Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy reported a surplus in its power output on Monday and said it will export 300MWh to neighbouring nation Poland.
The ministry said in a statement that excess electricity was transferred to Poland’s power systems on Monday afternoon, local time, at the request of the transmission system operator. It added that additional capacity was also exported to Moldova.
The announcement marks a welcome rise in energy security in the country after two years of bombardment by Russian forces. Ukraine regularly produced more energy than it could consume before Russia’s invasion in 2022, but the country’s electrical supply has since been damaged from targeted attacks on power facilities and Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the biggest nuclear facility in Europe.
The ministry also said that after emergency repairs, four units at a thermal power plant block were successfully reconnected to the main grid.
Two weeks ago, Ukraine’s Energy Minister, German Galushchenko, told Reuters that the country was close to being self-sufficient in gas for 2024 and might soon resume regular electricity exports. “We are close to [not needing to import gas]. It is realistic to reach the zero-gas balance this year,” he said, although he noted that new power surpluses were largely due to a drop in demand.
“It is important to realise that our consumption has dropped sharply [since the Russian invasion]. A lot will depend on how the industry and the economy will develop. Today there is growth in production, and the potential for increase is there and it is real potential.”
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In November, European energy companies operating within the EU began to look at storing excess gas in Ukraine as the bloc’s reserves filled rapidly ahead of schedule. Ukraine houses the EU’s largest storage tanks which, if filled, would see the country’s levels of natural gas supply return to pre-invasion levels.
The security of Ukraine’s energy supply has been of domestic and international concern since Russia’s invasion. In April last year, the World Bank pledged $200m (Hrv7.52bn) in funding to help Ukraine repair its energy and heating infrastructure. At the time, it cited $11bn in damages to the country’s energy infrastructure alone. During the autumn and winter of 2022, more than 50% of Ukraine’s power infrastructure was damaged by Russian attacks.
Data from the International Energy Agency last year also revealed that the Ukrainian electricity market had already shrunk by 40% “with no sign of recovery”, as supply and demand have both been disrupted.
Just last week, the EU agreed a landmark €50bn ($53.67bn) funding package for Ukraine. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said the decision was one of “historic proportions” and would demonstrate to Russian President Vladimir Putin that talk of “fatigue or waning support” is false.