At the end of January the Energy and Coal Ministry announced that in 2013 Ukraine reduced consumption of natural gas by 4.4 billion cubic meters - to 50.4 b cu m. According to experts, much of it is owed to efforts of the state and private sector to develop energy saving policy due to high price of imported gas. However, there are no doubts that the achieved optimization of gas consumptions is just a start.  
As ForUm has learned from the State agency on energy efficiency and energy saving, Ukraine consumes about 210 million tons of oil equivalent annually, thus is considered a power-hungry country. According to the data of the agency, by itself Ukraine covers only 53% of demand in energy resources, including import of 60% of required natural gas and 85% of crude oil and oil products.
At the same time, the country has the potential to reduce energy consumption. Thus, deputy chair of the State agency on energy efficiency and energy saving Serhiy Dubovyk believes that energy consumption can be reduced by 42-48%. Sectors with the biggest possibilities for energy saving include industry (by 38%), utilities (30%) and fuel and energy complex (17%). Moreover, according to available information, in 2000-2010 years domestic GDP energy intensity dropped by more than 40%: in 2000 this index made 0.98 tons of oil equivalent per $1000, and in 2010 it decreased to 0.55 tons of oil equivalent.

In the latest version of the "Energy strategy of Ukraine till 2030" the Cabinet sets a task to reduce energy consumption in the country to half, which will cost about $24 billion. In particular, by 2015-17, GDP energy intensity must be reduced by 20% comparing to 1990 (by 108 million tons of oil equivalent), while the share of renewable energy in the consumption structure must be increased by five times (to 5%). And by 2030, GDP energy intensity must be reduced to 0.22 tons of oil equivalent per $1000. As a comparison, analyst of the "Derjzovnishyninform" (DZI) center Oleh Kozalchuk cites the latest indices of other countries: 0.44 tons of oil equivalent in Russia, 0.34 - in China, 0.15 - in Germany. Considering the data, there's definitely a room for improvement for Ukrainian consumers.
Prospects of saving

Mining and metals sector and coal industry are two major energy consumers of the country. As for the first one, it accounts for about 52% of national energy balance, including 25% of power consumption. However, thanks to implementation of energy saving technologies, total energy intensity gradually decreases, including consumption of natural gas. Thus, in 2012 it reduced by 24.9%, and in 2013 - by another 20.5% (to 3.1 b cu m), DZI informs. Much of it is owed to implementation of coal injection technologies (mostly for iron smelting), and natural gas is no longer required for blast-furnace process at such enterprises as Alchevsk metallurgical complex, "Donetskstal", "Zaporizhstal", Ilyich Iron and Steel Works.

As for coal industry, the situation is more complicated: the share of energy consumption in the financial balance of the players in the sector makes 80-85%, mostly due to worn-out state of equipment. For the moment, modernization is carried out at private mines only. As for the state enterprises, economists recommend public and private partnership as a possible way out.

Finally, another 25% of energy consumption accrue to the utilities sector, which takes only 6% in GDP breakdown. According to estimations of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), minimum 60 billion euro are required for improvement of energy efficiency of residential buildings in Ukraine, which in turn will provide annual energy saving at 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. According to DZI, the major energy problems of the sector include lack of metering equipment and heavy wear of facilities of heat and energy producers. Thus, only 15-16% of residential buildings in Ukraine are equipped with water and/or gas metering devices. Serhiy Dubovyk says that all residential buildings require energy audit to build a complete picture of energy consumption and reasons of energy loss. Meantime, according to the expert, the fastest and simplest way to minimize heat loss in the sector includes insulation of building faces, as 40% of heat is lost through walls. As of today, every third residential building of the country, or about 74 thousand houses with total face area of more than 306 million square meters, requires insulation.

Alternative factor

Speaking about alternative energy, specialists believe it is one of the fastest growing sub-industries of the fuel and energy complex. Thus, at the beginning of 2013 it made only 1% of the total  capacity (53.8 gigawatt), but by the IV quarter of the year this index grew to 2% and exceeded 1.1 gigawatt. Much of it is owed to solar and wind electric power plants. In particular, solar power plants with total capacity of 275.4 megawatt and costing 360 million euro were built in Ukraine in the first half of 2013, and as a result, the overall capacity increased to 601.5 megawatt. And the index is expected to grow twice, to 1350 megawatt, by this mid year. Moreover, according to Vitaly Daviy, head of the Association of Alternative Fuel and Energy Market Participants (APEU), "Active Solar" company (Austria) remains the leader of domestic "solar" segment, and "Star Group" company (Slovakia) intends to invest 200 million euro into the construction of a solar power plant of total capacity of 120 megawatt by 2015.

As for wind power, new plants of total capacity of 18.3 megawatt and costing 84 million euro were put into operation in the first quarter of 2013, and construction of new plants has started in Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Kherson regions and Crimea. The leaders of the segment include "Vetroparki Ukrainy" and "Wind Power".

In particular, "Wind Power" now develops the project of Botiyevska wind power plant of total capacity of 200 megawatt and costing 350 million euro, while "Vetroparki" built last year several new plants of total capacity of 125.5 megawatt and now develops three large-scale projects to be realized by 2018. These projects include energy extension of Krasnodonska, Lutughinska and Antratsitova wind power plants. The total cost of investment projects has been estimated within $2.3 billion.

In this respect, Vitaly Daviy specifies that the total capacity of Ukrainian wind power plants reached 500 megawatt by the beginning of 2014.

Sources of financing

According to the "Energy strategy of Ukraine till 2030", the budget expenses for energy efficiency projects will make 1.85 billion hryvnias in 2015, while the expected investments of the private sectors will make UAH 100 billion. Ukrainian hopes lie mostly with European structures like EBRD, which allocate cheap loans. Thus, last year the World Bank allocated $200 million for energy efficiency of small enterprises of Ukraine, and the EU granted 15.6 million euro to Kyiv for similar projects. 

In turn, expert on energy Valentyn Zemlyanski points out the necessity of energy-optimization of residential buildings. "Private sector already finances energy-optimization projects in industry and alternative energy, but the utilities sphere also requires attention. The complete audit of one apartment block, for example, costs several million hryvnias, and then it is needed to carry out insulation and installation of metering equipment. The works in one building can be done within 3-5 years, but on a national scale it will require billions of hryvnias, and the state budget does not have this kind of money. For this Ukraine must develop and offer mutually beneficial investment schemes for investors to come."

Well, as we can see, energy saving keeps developing in the country and has fair outlooks for the future, considering independent market demand, multiplied by government plans. Let's hope political disturbances or other force majeur factors will not interfere with the plans, and Ukraine will become a "greener" state already in several years.

Andriy Boyarunets


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