Ukraine-EU power grid sync could happen next week – DTEK
LONDON (ICIS)–The Ukrainian electricity transmission system operator may be synchronised in emergency mode with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) by the end of next week, according to the CEO of Ukraine’s largest power generator DTEK.
Speaking to the press on Thursday afternoon, Maksim Tymchenko said the synchronisation would allow Ukraine to add at least 2GW of emergency interconnection capacity from neighbouring countries including Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
This would not mean establishing commercial flows for now.
Ukraine disconnected completely from all neighbouring grids, including Russia’s and Belarus on the 24 February, four hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
It was expected to carry out a full isolation test together with neighbouring Moldova as part of its application to join ENTSO-E in 2023.
However, once the war started, the Ukrainian electricity transmission system operator Ukrenergo said it would not rejoin the Russian grid and applied for emergency ENTSO-E synchronisation.
ENTSO-E said earlier this week it would urgently assess options for the synchronisation of the Ukrainian and Moldovan systems to European grids.
RUSSIAN THREAT TO NUCLEAR, THERMAL PLANTS
The system has been working in full isolation ever since, relying on nuclear and coal fire power plants.
The additional emergency ENTSO-E capacity could offset the loss of capacity in the eastern part of Ukraine, where Russian troops are now closing in on the Zhaporizhzhya nuclear and thermal power plants in Enerhodar, southeastern Ukraine.
Only 2.8GW out of the 6GW at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is in operation and 300MW at the 3.6GW thermal power plant. The former is operated by the state producer Energoatom while the latter is operated by DTEK.
The nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe and Ukrainian authorities fear that it could be damaged in a Russian attack with devastating consequences for the world.
Citizens of and staff at the plants sought to repel advancing troops throughout the week but there were reports that the troops had entered the city on Thursday afternoon. The plants were under Ukrainian control as of 16:00 hours GMT.
Tymchenko said Ukraine was working with Poland to secure enough coal stocks, possibly via a system of swaps because key Black Sea ports are under attack.
If the Zaphorizhzhya thermal power plant remains under Ukrainian control but runs out of coal it may be switched off to gas from next week, according to Tymchenko.
On Thursday afternoon, the Ukrainian gas storage operator said it had temporarily suspended all gas withdrawals from facilities.
STOP GAS TRANSIT NOW
The transit of natural gas, however, was unaffected, even though the gas transmission system operator, GTSOU said several sections of pipelines in the eastern Kharkiv and Luhansk regions were damaged by Russian airstrikes.
The damages did not impact the transit of gas to Europe, which stood at around 83 million cubic metres/day at the Slovak-Ukrainian border.
Timchenko encouraged western allies to sanction oil and gas supplies from Russia, saying “nothing can be worse to Ukraine than what is happening right now”.
Timchenko noted some parts of the electricity system had been damaged, which meant that around 10% of the population were left without electricity.
However the system continued to operate at a stable frequency of 50Hz.