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Ukraine has coal problem and power sector emergency

Staff writer ▼ | June 29, 2016
Ukraine is facing a combination of coal supply shortage and a rising demand due to increased air temperatures.
Ukraine power
Energy   Ukraine relies on anthracite for power generation
It needs to limit power consumption to avoid sweeping power cuts, the energy and coal sector ministry said.

The ministry, which had several emergency meetings to balance power generation and consumption, had called on consumers to limit power consumption during peak hours, Platts reports.

"Today, as never before, we need understanding and support from our consumers in order to limit power consumption during the hot days of July and August," the ministry said in a statement. "This would ensure uninterruptable power supplies."

The statement underscored the depth of the problem four weeks after Russia-backed rebels controlling parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions stopped shipping anthracite coal to the rest of Ukraine.

Ukraine relies on anthracite for power generation, with all the country's anthracite coal mines in areas controlled by the rebels. The railroad traffic carrying coal from Donetsk and Luhansk was halted on June 1 as militants intensified shelling, raising fears of escalated violence.

Ukraine's reserves of anthracite coal have fallen 56% since the beginning of June to 360,600 mt as of June 24, according to power grid operator UkrEnergo.

In addition to the coal supply problem, Ukraine's power sector is also under pressure from a number of outages in the nuclear sector over the past several months.

Six Ukrainian nuclear power units out of 15 are offline for maintenance and repairs, according to Energoatom.

Energoatom on Friday shut its 1,000-MW South-Ukrainian-1 for scheduled maintenance expected to keep it offline for 63 days.

The ministry has estimated a gap of about 600 MW between power generation and demand due to rising temperatures throughout most of Ukraine.

UkrEnergo, which operates the country's power grid, on Friday issues its own statement asking domestic consumers to save power during peak hours to avoid outages.