In 2022, as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU reduced its demand for energy, especially for gas, and maintained its course of abandoning coal. At the same time, the transition to renewable energy sources accelerated - in 2022, wind and solar generated a record fifth, or 22% of electricity in the EU. According to Ember analysts, this year's demand for fossil fuels in the EU may decrease by 20%, which is twice the previous record of 2020.
"Last year, many factors other than Russian aggression played into the hands of fossil fuels. In particular, the drought in Europe, unprecedented in the last 500 years, which reduced generation at hydroelectric power plants to the lowest levels since at least 2000, a 16% reduction in nuclear power generation in the EU due to failures in France and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities in Germany. But all of this, together with Russian aggression, did not negate Europe's plans to switch to green energy sources, but rather revitalized them. We predict that these trends will intensify", says Dave Jones, Head of Data Insights at Ember.
According to Ember researchers, generation at hydropower facilities will resume this year, a large number of French nuclear units that were in shutdowns, will start working after repairs, and the deployment of wind and solar energy will accelerate. At the same time, the downward trend in electricity demand is likely to continue to fall in the coming months. In 2023, Europe will witness a huge drop in fossil fuel consumption - coal and especially gas.
It is important for Ukraine to deploy at scale decentralized renewable energy sources at a time when about 40% of the country's energy infrastructure is damaged by Russian missile attacks. According to the KSE, direct losses in the electricity sector as a result of Russian shelling amount to $6.8 billion and this amount is constantly growing.
"The government and energy infrastructure workers are heroically restoring power capacities to keep Ukrainians connected and supplied with electricity. But today it is important to create the conditions for the energy transition and the necessary legislative initiatives are already under wide discussion, including: net billing, direct contracts and certificates of origin for green energy. The economic potential for the development of Ukrainian renewable sources is significant: according to various estimates, wind power and renewable gases can increase by about 70 times compared to 2021 levels, and solar power by about 60 times. In order to use these opportunities, it is important to unite international investors, industry associations and officials to accelerate the green transition in Ukraine and overall Europe", says Olga Yevstigneeva, Razom We Stand campaigner.
Razom We Stand is initiating the creation of the RE - Energy Communication Network, which aims to bring together communicators, experts, specialized associations and officials to conduct joint communication campaigns to support green transition in Ukraine.
Solar Energy Association of Ukraine is a leading Ukrainian renewable industry association that is represented at the RE - Energy Communication Network. The Solar Energy Association has been promoting solar energy development and energy transition in Ukraine since 2017 and unites the most active market players and companies from the Ukrainian solar sector.
"Despite the variety of difficulties caused by the full scale invasion for the development of the solar sector and high damages to grids, we continue to support the development of solar energy across the country. The focus of the market now is mostly on the small residential hybrid PV+battery systems that provide an independent and reliable source of electricity at any time from the rooftop PV or previously stored from the grid. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion and even more, with the power shortages, Ukrainians have become more and more aware of the benefits and advances of solar technology", - says Artem Semenyshyn, CEO of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine.
Representatives of the Bioenergy Association of Ukraine assure that by 2030, Ukraine will be able to completely replace imported fossil gas with domestic biomethane in volumes of up to 10 billion m3/year. By 2050, the volume of natural gas substitution with bioenergy could reach almost 26 billion m3/year, which is equal to domestic consumption.
"Currently, 5.2 billion m3/year of natural gas has already been replaced by biomass in 2020. That is, we consume 26 billion m3 of gas, but we could consume 31 billion m3. That is, about 15% of natural gas in Ukraine has already been replaced by bioenergy. And this trend can be continued, as the average annual growth rate of bioenergy is currently 11%," says Georgii Geletukha, Head of the Bioenergy Association of Ukraine.
According to a study by the Institute for Economics and Forecasting, wind energy has a development potential of about 100 GW and will be able to provide a third of the country's total energy consumption. And with the development of offshore wind generation, it will be much more.
"To combat russia’s energy terrorism against Ukraine, it is essential to prioritize the completion and activation of pre-war wind farm projects in central and western regions. Wind energy has affirmed its pivotal role in facilitating the energy transition, bolstering energy security, promoting economic recovery, and nurturing a green energy shift. To hasten the commissioning of fresh capacity to at least 1 GW per year, it is critical to establish a cutting-edge production base and initiate manufacturing of wind turbine components in Ukraine. The proliferation of wind energy, both offshore and onshore, can spawn job growth, accelerate the development of regions with wind potential and invigorate domestic investments, bypassing the need to subsidize energy imports from aggressors like russia as was the case pre-war," says Andrii Konechenkov, Chairman of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association.
About Razom We Stand:
Razom We Stand is a civil society organization founded in 2022 in response to Russian aggression, calling for a full and permanent embargo on Russian fossil fuels and an immediate end to all investment in Russian oil and gas companies. We seek to create momentum for a rebuilding of the global economy and significant financial mobilization of investment in new clean, smart and efficient energy systems based on renewable energy sources. We believe that the green post-war recovery of Ukraine should be based on the principles of the Green Deal with a full-scale transition to renewable energy sources.
Ember is a global energy think tank that researches energy transition issues. The center was originally founded in 2008 as a Sandbag for reforming the EU carbon market. In 2020, we changed the brand to Ember, marking a focus on accelerating the clean energy transition. "Ember and Sandbag are trademarks owned by the United Kingdom and European Union Intellectual Property Offices.
Jason Kirkpatrick, [email protected]
Snr. Communications Mgr., Razom We Stand