Only 20% of Ukraine's facilities to be restored by winter, but it's enough — energy expert
Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Energy Research Center, believes that it will not be possible to fully restore the energy infrastructure facilities destroyed and damaged last winter by the next heating season. But even restoring part of it will be enough to cover the current electricity needs, he said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine.
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After the end of the winter, the Ukrainian authorities said that they planned to restore almost 80% of what was destroyed during the last winter.
"Honestly, 80% is nothing. 80% will definitely not be restored, there is no question about it. It is practically impossible technically. And it is not really necessary," said Kharchenko.
He explained that high-voltage networks were damaged during the enemy's massive missile attacks in the fall and winter of last year. The level of damage is 45% of key equipment, primarily high-voltage transformers, which were physically destroyed. That is, they must be replaced with new ones.
NEC Ukrenergo is buying equipment, which is being delivered to Ukraine. But it takes 6-7 months to produce a new autotransformer. The Zaporizhzhya Transformer Company cannot cover all needs, as they produce one or two transformers per month.
The first transformers from abroad will arrive in July. By October, a total of seven or eight of them may enter the country.
"From the point of view of the time required to manufacture the equipment, bring it to Ukraine and install it, if 20% is restored before the heating season, it will be very good. I think it will be somewhere around 15%," said the director of the Energy Research Center.
This will be enough to cover the current needs of the Ukrainian energy system for the transportation of electricity, the expert assured.
Kharchenko considers restoration of thermal power plants to be the biggest problem.
"There are a lot of completely destroyed blocks. That is, they have not been restored and they cannot be restored in the horizon for 2-3 years, no less," he said.
The main danger, in his opinion, remains the probability of strikes on energy facilities, which Russia can resume in the fall.
On May 26, 2023, Ukrenergo reported that the energy system had lost a total of 27 GW of capacity since the start of Russia's war against Ukraine in 2014.
At the end of May, Ukrenergo restored 70% of the objects damaged by the Russians.
On June 29, the company completed more than 50% of the planned repair work in the network. The pace of recovery accelerated five to six times compared to the period before the full-scale war.