Ukraine resumes electricity exports after six-month gap due to Russian strikes

The energy system has been operating for two months with a reserve capacity, energy minister says

Electricity workers fix a destroyed high voltage power line in December in Kherson, Ukraine. Getty
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Ukraine will resume exporting electricity after a six-month gap following repairs carried out after months of repeated Russian attacks, in a move set to support the EU.

Energy minister Herman Halushchenko signed an executive order allowing electricity exports to restart, given the surplus of domestic supply.

“The most difficult winter has passed,” he said in a statement on the energy ministry’s website on Friday.

“The Ukrainian energy system has been operating for almost two months without consumer restrictions, with a reserve of capacity. The next step is the opening of electricity exports, which will allow us to attract additional financial resources for the necessary reconstruction of the destroyed and damaged energy infrastructure.”

Last October, Ukraine halted exports of electricity to the EU — its main export market for energy since the war began — following Russia’s strikes on energy infrastructure.

Russia began its military offensive in Ukraine in February 2022. It began attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last October, which led to widespread power cuts and scheduled blackouts, leaving towns and cities in darkness during winter.

Parts of Ukraine sent residents away in November to ensure that energy supplies did not collapse over the winter.

The Eastern European country’s economy shrank by 30 per cent last year and the fluidity of the conflict means an uncertain economic outlook, with a range of outcomes that range from a three per cent contraction to a one per cent expansion in real gross domestic product growth for 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF approved a $15.6 billion loan for Ukraine on April 1. The four-year Extended Fund Facility is part of an overall support package worth $115 billion and is aimed at helping Kyiv resolve its balance-of-payment problem and restore external viability in the medium term, the Washington-based fund said.

Ukraine is currently allowed to export a maximum of 400 megawatts to the EU, according to the energy ministry’s website.

However, actual export volumes may fluctuate depending on the time of day and market conditions, it said.

Germany and UK deliver tanks to Ukraine

Germany and UK deliver tanks to Ukraine

The provision of electricity needs for Ukrainian consumers will remain a priority.

“The export of electricity will work under the condition of providing Ukrainian consumers with electricity and may be stopped in the event of a change in the situation,” Mr Halushchenko said.

He also praised the “titanic work” of engineers and international partners to restore the system.

Ukraine exported electricity to Moldova and EU countries from June to October 11 last year. During this period, 2.6 billion kilowatt hours were realised, the energy ministry said.

In June 2022, Ukraine had said it was hoping to bring in 1.5 billion euros ($1.64 billion) from electricity exports to the EU by the end of the year.

Updated: April 09, 2023, 5:44 AM