• 13/04/2024 15:58

Energy saving: why is it so important to share the “light”

Енергоощадливість: чому так важливо ділитися “світлом”

Economical consumption of energy resources is both evidence of our unity and a step towards European values.

Last week, NEC Ukrenergo announced a shortage in the energy system for five days in a row and called in emergency assistance to avoid outages. The volume of the deficit was small (according to the Ministry of Energy, within 1-2% of consumption levels), but with a decrease in average daily temperatures to -10 degrees, it could be significant. Both power engineers and the state leadership urge Ukrainians to use electricity sparingly – in order to maintain balance in the energy system and so that there is enough electricity for the needs of the military, doctors, and rescuers. Ukrinform looked into what is happening to the energy system, how best to help it, and how energy conservation is being supported in Ukraine.

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE ENERGY SYSTEM

The normal state of the power system is when the volume of electricity production and its consumption coincide. When there is a shortage of power, production does not seem to keep up with consumption – as a result, some consumers do not have enough electricity.

Why is this happening in Ukraine?

According to Ukrenergo , as of May 2023, Ukraine lost 27 GW of installed power plant capacity as a result. Only a small part of them – only 4 GW – was lost back in 2014. The main generation losses occurred after the start of the full-scale invasion: Zaporozhye NPP (up to 25% of the entire generation), Lugansk, Zaporozhye, Uglegorsk thermal power plants, Kakhovskaya HPP.

Енергоощадливість: чому так важливо ділитися “світлом”

Igor Sirota

In addition, Ukrainian thermal and hydroelectric power plants were subject to regular attacks by missiles and drones during the 2022-2023 heating season. According to the Ministry of Energy , at the end of March 2023, 19 units of thermal power plants, 4 power units of thermal power plants and 8 hydraulic units of hydroelectric power plants were damaged due to the attack. Thus, the head of PJSC Ukrhydroenergo Igor Sirota said that 55 missiles were sent to the hydroelectric power station alone.

Starting in the spring, throughout the summer and fall, power engineers carried out repairs on damaged power units. The Cabinet of Ministers set them the task of adding 1.9 GW of capacity to the energy system by the beginning of the heating season, which was completed by energy companies.

However, Russian attacks on energy infrastructure continue: on December 7-8 alone, one of the front-line thermal power plants experienced three waves of artillery shelling. As a result, three power units of this power plant were forced to shut down for emergency repairs – precisely when electricity consumption increased due to frost.

Energy companies now lack power reserves and imported electricity can come to their aid. Since November, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has increased its technical import capacity to 1.7 GW.

In order to encourage Ukrainian enterprises to import electricity, the Cabinet of Ministers approved regulations on the specifics of importing electricity under martial law. According to the document, electricity consumption limitation schedules will not be applied to consumers who are supplied with imported electricity. To achieve this, imports must account for 50% of their consumption. This approach was in effect last heating season – and enterprises used it to maintain their work.

Енергоощадливість: чому так важливо ділитися “світлом”

Vladimir Kudritsky

So far, the ability to import is not fully used: according to the Chairman of the Board of Ukrenergo Vladimir Kudrytsky – by 30-35%. Therefore, to cover the deficit, Ukrenergo is forced to use emergency assistance from neighboring countries.

HOW TO SHARE LIGHT WITH YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Emergency assistance is emergency supplies of electricity from neighboring countries outside of commercial contracts. It occurs not at the level of companies trading electricity on the market, but at the level of agreements between national transmission system operators – in Ukraine this is NEC Ukrenergo. Emergency assistance is also called because it is requested urgently, while market participants agree on imports in advance.

And therein lies the pitfall of emergency assistance. “This is an emergency measure, and not always guaranteed,” Prime Minister Denis Shmigal emphasized in his address to Ukrainians.

Neighboring countries may not have the reserves to provide electricity to cover shortfalls at a particular time. Yes, regional power companies have already updated their shutdown schedules – this was one of their “homework” for the summer. But they expect that these schedules will only have to be applied in the event of critical infrastructure damage due to Russian attacks. That’s why the government and energy workers are asking citizens for help.

“To do this, it is enough to save electricity, especially during peak evening and morning hours. Reasonable consumption will help balance the energy system and avoid planned outages,” Szmigal noted.

Ukrenergo came up with a visualization of the problem: they figuratively compare the winter electricity consumption schedule with the figure of a cat with two ears – these are the hours of greatest consumption, from 9:00 to 11:00 in the morning and from 16:00 to 18:00-19:00 in the evening. It is during these hours that it is most difficult for energy workers to maintain a balance between production and consumption, and it is then that they most need the help of all Ukrainians.

Енергоощадливість: чому так важливо ділитися “світлом”

Alexander Kharchenko

“In Ukraine there are about a million apartments in multi-apartment buildings. If each apartment saves 3-4 kW, this is already a noticeable result for the energy system. Turning off the electric kettle is 2 kW, turning off the boiler is at least 1.5 kW. If Ukrainians really save, we will be able to do without blackouts,” says Alexander Kharchenko , director of the Center for Energy Research.

It is not necessary to completely stop using electrical appliances: Ukrenergo asks Ukrainians simply not to turn on powerful appliances at the same time, for example, a microwave and a boiler. Washing can be programmed for night hours – under any conditions, it is at night that electricity consumption is the lowest per day. Turning off the “extra” lights in the rooms will also help maintain balance in the energy system: when there is no one left in the room, there is no need to turn on the lighting.

Ukrenergo also appeals to such large consumers of electricity as shopping and shopping and entertainment centers with a request to use holiday illumination at less than full capacity. “Less lighting of storefronts during the day will also be a support,” the grid operator noted.

Energy Minister German Galushchenko, in an interview with the “We are Ukraine” TV channel, noted that electricity consumption has increased as a result of increased business and economic growth. Therefore, he appeals to both Ukrainians and businesses with a request to save electricity as much as possible.

“Last year, Ukrainians showed unity and willingness to share light,” the minister emphasized.

Economical energy consumption is not only a current need, but also our future

But energy saving is not just a one-season need. And this applies not only to light. Moving towards integration with the European Union, Ukraine has committed to reducing energy consumption by 17% by the end of 2030. And energy efficiency support programs that target both the population and businesses and communities help with this.

One of such programs – and the simplest – is the exchange of incandescent lamps for energy-saving ones in the branches of JSC “Ukrposhta”. The program began at the end of January 2023 and the goal is to provide Ukrainians with 50 million light bulbs free of charge. Both individual Ukrainians and organizations can take part: medical institutions, schools, kindergartens, clinics, associations of co-owners of apartment buildings (OAMD).

On December 5, a new stage of the lamp exchange program started: pensioners can receive an additional five LED lamps at Ukrposhta branches, even if they have already participated in the exchange before. According to the Ministry of Economy , this category of the population has already exchanged 1 million incandescent lamps. An application for participation in the program can be submitted in the “Action” application.

For condominium owners wishing to modernize their apartment buildings, the Energodom program from the State Institution Energy Efficiency Fund has been in effect since 2019. Now the institution is accepting applications for participation in the program under the simplified package “A”, but has not yet resumed accepting applications for participation in the program under package “B”, which provides for the comprehensive modernization of high-rise buildings.

As Ukrinform was told by the press service of the Energy Efficiency Fund, as of November, the institution received 20 applications under the simplified package “A”. It provides for the installation of house heat meters, installation or modernization of heating points, thermal insulation of intra-house heating and water supply networks, etc. To carry out these activities, condominiums can receive a grant of up to 2 million UAH, which partially covers the cost of the work. Residents of modernized houses will be able to reduce energy consumption – not only electricity, but also heat and water.

Енергоощадливість: чому так важливо ділитися “світлом”

Anna Zamazeeva

The State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving also joined the development of energy efficiency support programs. “As part of the work of the Decarbonization Fund and the UANDP platform, we have begun developing government programs to support hundreds of thousands of families in the thermal modernization of housing, introduce ESCO projects in thousands of public buildings, and modernize more than several hundred enterprises,” said the head of the institution, Anna Zamazeeva , summing up the results in 2023.

The State Fund for Decarbonization and Energy Efficient Transformation will start operating on January 1, 2024. Under this fund, Ukraine will have a reliable, legally protected source of funds to implement energy efficiency programs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and support alternative energy sources. The fund will be replenished from an environmental tax on carbon emissions, which will be paid by large enterprises.

Communities wishing to improve the energy efficiency of municipal facilities can contact the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation NEFCO (from the English. Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, NEFCO is an organization created in 1990 by the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden (provides financial support for various environmentally important projects, mainly in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. – Ed .) This organization provides loans for the modernization of schools, medical institutions. In particular, a project for the thermal modernization of 34 public institutions in Chernivtsi was recently completed, where energy consumption was reduced by 39% compared to the baseline NEFCO is now, among other things, working with communities affected by the full-scale invasion in Ukraine.

Energy modernization of business is also supported by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) together with partners (including Action.Business). This year alone, the organization announced several grant programs for small and medium-sized enterprises, including those affected by the war.

That is, now in Ukraine there are opportunities to receive funds for energy efficient projects. And there is hope that there will be more and more such opportunities, because the economical use of energy resources is a long-term policy and obligations of our state for years to come.

During the same heating season, our power engineers have a supply of equipment for emergency repairs, with the help of partners they are building protection for energy facilities from attacks by missiles and drones, and the Defense Forces are strengthening air defense.

We, ordinary Ukrainians, can help energy workers maintain balance on the coldest days of winter. To do this, it is enough to simply consume electricity economically so that there is enough for everyone – especially those on whom our safety, health and life depend.

Let's share the light!

Victoria Nakonechnaya , Kiev

First photo : Depositphotos

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