Joint Statement of 20 civil society organizations to Ukrainian Government
Representatives of leading NGOs working in the field of ecology, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources are deeply concerned about the lack of approved plans, strategies, concepts for the development of Ukraine’s energy sector until 2050. Moreover, there is a growing impression of Ukraine’s movement in the energy sector in the opposite direction to the EU’s climate goals.
For example, over the years and in the past, the EU has officially approved a plan for Europe’s transition to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, enshrining its ambitious goals in the “European Green Deal”. Investments in clean energy are considered in this document as the most effective way out of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the framework of the European Green Deal, new record indicators of energy production from RES have already been achieved and the reduction of coal consumption and use of nuclear energy continues.
Over the past year, Ukraine has stopped working on the Concept of Green Energy Transition, a government document aimed at the transition of Ukraine’s energy sector to the use of 60% of RES in the total supply of primary energy in 2050. Today, Ukraine has a record debt for electricity generated from RES – about UAH 24.8 billion as of October 1, 2020 – and the schedule of current payments is still not met. In addition, 47 people’s deputies of Ukraine submitted a constitutional petition to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine regarding the unconstitutionality of the legislative provisions of the Law of Ukraine № 555-IV “On Alternative Energy Sources” of February 20, 2003, and the Law of Ukraine № 2019-VIII “On the Electricity Market ”Of April 13, 2017, which, in particular, concerns the recognition of the mechanism of “green” tariffs as unconstitutional. In addition, NNEGC “Energoatom” recently announced its plans to complete two units of the Khmelnytskyi NPP by 2025, and more than UAH 3 billion has been spent on subsidies to support the coal industry (by the way, the State Budget for 2021 has already planned 4,5 billion UAH). Not a single MW of maneuver generation or energy storage and storage systems has been built, an effective mechanism for attracting investments has not been created, and electronic auctions for state support of renewable energy projects have not yet been launched. The efforts of many politicians and journalists create a negative image of the renewable energy sector. State authorities are hampering Ukraine’s adoption of a more ambitious goal (nationally determined contribution – NDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement.
All this clearly demonstrates the existence of climate skepticism at all levels of government and efforts to preserve the current state of energy policy for as long as possible. At the same time, it is worth recalling that climate change in Ukraine is occurring much faster than in the EU and Ukraine is already suffering direct economic losses from global warming. Thus, in Ukraine, the average annual temperature has increased by 1.2 °C over the last thirty years, while on average in the world this increase is 1.0 °C.
We see 5 risks of such developments:
- Technical. If the state authorities do not continue to create and maintain proper conditions for the rapid development of RES, Ukraine will be forced to continue operating power plants that have already worked for 50-60 years and crossed the line of their moral and physical deterioration. Their operation will require more and more costs for repairs and subsidies from the state budget of Ukraine. It is likely that the financing of the decommissioning of nuclear units and the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, as well as the installation of modern flue gas purification and nitrogen suppression systems at coal-fired power plants will remain unresolved. In the best case, the operation of existing coal and nuclear power plants will be continued until 2035, after which it will be decommissioned en masse and almost simultaneously. It is obvious that by that time new replacement capacities should have already been built. Already today, the cheapest option for the new generation is renewable energy sources, which continue to develop and improve their LCOE performance. For economic reasons, it is already clear that solar and wind energy will be the backbone of the energy systems of the future.
- Financial. In addition to financial losses from the operation of an outdated and inefficient energy system and rising prices for consumers, there is a new risk of exports from Ukraine under the expected carbon border adjustment mechanism in the EU (carbon border adjustment mechanism). Such a mechanism should be adopted in the EU no later than the second quarter of 2021, and introduced by 2023. The initiative is currently in the active phase of approval and public consultation. The new mechanism will set a duty on so-called “dirty” imports of certain goods into the EU. First of all, it will concern the import of steel, aluminum, cement, etc., most likely – electricity. Ukraine’s losses, as a result, are difficult to calculate, however, given that about 50% of manufactured goods are exported to the EU, it can be predicted that these losses will be very significant. For example, if this mechanism is introduced, Russia’s losses from exports are estimated at $3 to $4.8 billion annually.
- Political. Moving in the opposite direction from the EU in the development of a national “Green Deal”, Ukraine is unlikely to be able to count on further political rapprochement and support from the EU. During the presentation of the European Hydrogen Strategy in Brussels on 08.07.2020, the Vice President of the European Commission F. Timmermans stressed that the combination of green hydrogen use with renewable energy sources provides ample opportunities to overcome the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. In this strategy, Ukraine is assigned the role of a strategic partner for the production and supply of new energy sources for the needs of the EU: green hydrogen and biomethane.
- Climatic. Unfortunately, given the current course, Ukraine will not fulfill its part of the global task of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement. The consequences for the planet from not fulfilling this task are expected to be catastrophic. As Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, recently warned, in a few decades the world will face a climate catastrophe that will be more dangerous than the COVID-19 pandemic. “As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse”, — Bill Gates wrote. In the time of the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), is convinced: “Amid today’s extraordinary health and economic challenges, governments must not lose sight of the essential task of stepping up clean energy transitions to enable us to emerge from the crisis on a secure and sustainable path”.
- Environmental. Ukraine has the shortest life expectancy in Europe, at 71 years. For comparison, in Sweden – 80 years. Ukraine ranks 99th in the world in terms of mortality caused by air pollution. In Europe, we are in the six worst. Ukraine ranks 109th out of 180 in the environmental ranking of countries. The average age of thermal energy facilities exceeds 50 years, and the specific emissions of pollutants (dust, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen) into the atmosphere exceed the EU environmental standards by tens of times. The population of Kyiv and Dnipro suffers from pollution caused by outdated coal generation located within these millionaire cities.
We see the speedy synchronization of Ukraine with the “green” energy transition of the EU as a necessary response to these risks. One of the first steps in this direction should be the development of a new “green” Energy Strategy of Ukraine until 2050, which should be based on the development of two main directions:
- Reduction of energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency and energy saving;
- Large-scale use of renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass, hydropower and ambient energy) and renewable gases (green hydrogen, biomethane) for the production of electricity and heat, as well as as transport fuels.
Our vision of Ukraine’s energy strategy until 2050 is based on the transition to 100% RES as the most economically and environmentally feasible long-term scenario for the development of our country. We believe that by 2050 it is possible to achieve 100% of RES in the production of electricity and heat, and by 2070 – to completely convert the transport and energy sectors to clean energy.
The transition to energy-saving and renewable energy is key not only to tackling climate change but is driving positive economic and social change for communities. State policy should comprehensively promote the use of RES potential, small-scale distributed generation, and energy efficiency to build an environmentally friendly “green” economy and local development in a decentralized environment, which is the key to sustainable development.
We propose to the Government to immediately start work on the preparation of the national “Green Deal” and the new “green” Energy Strategy of Ukraine until 2050. We are ready to take an active part in this process.
Chairman of the Board PU “Global 100RE Ukraine” Oleksandr Dombrovskyi
Global Ambassador for Renewable Energy, Board Member PU «Global 100% RE Ukraine» Ruslana Lyzhychko
Head of the Board NGO «Renewable Energy Agency», Head of the Board PU «Bioenergy Association of Ukraine» Georgii Geletukha
Head of the Board PU “Wind Energy Association” Andriy Konechenkov
President of energy association «Ukrainian Hydrogen Council» Aleksandr Riepkin
Executive Director of PU «Solar Energy Association of Ukraine» Artem Semenyshyn
President of PU «Professional Association of Ecologists of Ukraine» Lyudmyla Tsyganok
Head of the Board of PU «Ukrainian Association of Energy Service Companies» Oleksii Korchmit
Head of Ukrainian Association of Renewable Energy Oleksandr Kozakevych
Climate and energy policy expert of the Ukrainian Climate Network Oleg Savytskyi
Chairman of the United Planet NGO, coordinator of the FurOFF Campaign Pavlo Vyshebaba
Head of the Energy Department, NGO “Center for Environmental Initiatives “Ecoaction” Kostiantyn Krynytskyi
Coordinator of the projects of the coalition “Energy Transition” Nataliia Lytvyn
Coordinators for the implementation of RES for sustainable energy development of communities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the NGO “Pravopolis” Natalia Korchak, Olena Korchak
President of the DiXi Group think tank Olena Pavlenko
Coordinator of energy programs of the OPORA public network Tetiana Boiko
Chairman of the Board of the Union of Producers of Organic Certified Products “Organic Ukraine” Olena Berezovska
Head of the Board of NGO «Save Dnipro» Iryna Chernysh