07.06.24 / / Event

EU-Ukraine Energy Workshop Ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin

On June 7, 2024, Razom We Stand, in partnership with E3G, the European Initiative for Energy Security, and the European Ukrainian Energy Agency, hosted a highly successful EU-Ukraine Energy Workshop ahead of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin. The event, held at the Classik Hotel Alexander Plaza, gathered key stakeholders to discuss the critical energy challenges and opportunities facing Ukraine amidst ongoing conflict and destruction.

Key Discussions and Highlights:

Opening Remarks:

The workshop commenced with inspiring opening remarks by Svitlana Romanko of Razom We Stand and Julia Kahrl, Deputy Head of Division Energy Diplomacy and Decarbonisation at the Federal Foreign Office. Kahrl emphasized the urgent need for a resilient and flexible energy infrastructure in Ukraine, advocating for robust international support and cooperation. “Today in this event we are providing solutions and hope to our difficult situation, and working toward a positive outcome to the war in Ukraine.” Svitlana Romanko remarked in her opening speech.

Panel 1: Addressing Energy Infrastructure Destruction and Investment Barriers

M. Kolisnyk, Ukraine's Deputy Minister of Energy, provided an in-depth analysis of the severe damage inflicted on Ukraine's energy infrastructure by ongoing Russian aggression. The presentation highlighted the necessity for decentralization and modern energy solutions.  Kolisnyk said “Over 50% of our energy infrastructure has been destroyed by Russia. The sustained attacks may negatively affect the economy, and this coming winter will be more difficult. For us it’s crucial to rebuild, and I hope today’s conference will help find solutions. We need to build a more sustainable electricity network, and build local small and medium energy production. We believe in the principles of the green transition.”

Pavel Bilek, Berlin Economics, outlined the significant potential for solar photovoltaic (PV) energy in Ukraine, emphasizing the critical role of solar PV in maintaining energy supply during the ongoing conflict and highlighted the need for scaling up solar PV integration. “Ukraine has some of the best potential for clean energy, especially for solar and wind this is some of the best in Europe. Benefits are clear, it’s very hard for Russia to hit, and there is very significant reliability. Schools, hospitals and homes really benefit.”

Jorge Beeche from GOLDBECK SOLAR Investment GmbH, said: “We are already in Ukraine working on renewables, but the international community must find solutions to allow for more successful investments to achieve our goals.”

Kostiantyn Lisnychyi, EU Representative at UkraineInvest, explored the existing regulatory and market barriers hindering private investments in Ukraine’s power sector. He also stressed the importance of easing these obstacles to attract more foreign capital, emphasizing Ukraine’s readiness and strategic positioning for substantial investment. He stated: “Hundreds of millions have been invested in Ukraine since the war started, yet more is needed.”

Workshop Berlin

Panel 2: Green Transition and Local Case Studies

Pierre-Arnaud Proux, Deputy Head of Unit - Reconstruction of Ukraine EU Commission and member of the Executive Vice-President Vestager's cabinet said: “The situation in Ukraine is acute. Clean energy is the top priority.”

Tony Hofreiter, MdB, discussed Germany’s regulatory frameworks and financial support mechanisms, illustrating how these could serve as a model for Ukraine's energy reform and integration into the European market: “We have to think about how to get Ukraine over the next winter, because it will be very difficult.”

Simon Wolffram, Policy Officer at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) in Germany, said “We have many clean energy pilot projects. The German government has given 20 million euros for solar panels on public buildings. We are looking forward to a decarbonized green future.”

Andriy Tabinskyy, Executive Director of the Association of Coal Communities of Ukraine, spoke about the just transition for coal-dependent communities. He underscored the socio-economic benefits of moving towards renewable energy sources and reducing coal dependency, saying: “We are creating trainings for working in new technologies, and are happy about coming new clean energy jobs. Ukraine has great opportunities for solar, and there are opportunities for new businesses to connect to the already existing grid. We also do energy efficiency programs. I believe the energy transition will benefit from clean energy tax benefits.”

Maxim Bevz, Razom We Stand introduced a new analytical note on “Ukraine Power Sector Outlook 2024”, advocating for decentralized renewable energy as a viable alternative to Ukraine’s damaged coal-fired plants and ESCO model for sustainable and rapid coal phase-out. He stated: “We need $8 billion to replace an old coal plant with clean energy. We need to develop decentralized energy systems to guarantee energy security. Many businesses are already turning to wind and solar, and we must build more.”

Anna Zhovtenko,  UNDP, discussed advancements in energy efficiency for public buildings in Ukraine through ESCO (Energy Service Company) models. She highlights legislative changes, successful project implementations, and the benefits of energy-saving contracts, saying: “We have over 23 urban partners piloting solar powered plants to hospitals, schools and water facilities. We are also working with UNDP, working on energy audits, and installing energy saving LED lights.”

Ihor O, Mayor of Vinnytsia, shared fantastic stories of how his city has quickly been creating clean energy solutions. “We have installed multiple successful solar projects, initiated by our City. Health care and public facilities were prioritized, and cooperation with much over 50 businesses contributed to this great clean energy transition effort.”

Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace said “Our first fast solar energy hospital repair project cost very little money, and we were able to quickly provide vital energy to rapidly put a vital hospital back in service. The basics of life must be immediately repaired, and this is the time for clean energies like solar which represent resilience. One can’t destroy the sun.”

Anastasiia Vereshchynska, Director at European-Ukrainian Energy Agency, emphasised: “We are working to build back better with clean energy, and officials have stated that they hope clean energy can be used to replace much of the current losses. Coming European funding will be very helpful for the transition to clean energy.”

Svitlana Romanko, Founder and Director of Razom We Stand, concluded  the workshop by saying: “We know that the clean energy transition can save $7-8 trillion a year, and we in Ukraine want to lead in this transition, which together we will create. This event has provided concrete solutions and hope, thanks to everyone who attended.”

The EU-Ukraine Energy Workshop highlighted not only the dire challenges Ukraine faces but also the immense potential for a green and resilient recovery. The collaborative efforts discussed at the conference provide a blueprint for Ukraine’s energy sector transformation, setting a precedent for future international cooperation in energy resilience and sustainability.