Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson highlighted the need to synchronise the EU’s and Ukraine’s energy grids in her address to the US-EU Energy Council yesterday.
Noting that Europe must support Ukraine in its fight for freedom and independence, she cited recent communications with Ukraine’s Minister of Energy, Herman Haluschenko, as just one instance of how closely the EC works with Ukraine.
“One project that has been our joint priority for a long time is synchronising the Ukrainian power grid with the European Continental Grid – instead of Russia”, she observed. “This is a strategic initiative for increasing Ukraine’s energy independence.”
On the day Russia attacked Ukraine, Kiev had taken the first step to prepare for the synchronisation by conducting an isolation mode test, she said. Haluschenko had since informed her that Ukraine had decided against reconnecting its grid back to Russia and was instead “asking for emergency synchronisation with the European grid as soon as possible.”
Simson revealed that she informed the head of the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) earlier yesterday of “my strong support for the emergency synchronisation.” She indicated that EU ministers support the plan as well and that “we will move forward with ENTSO-E to connect Ukraine’s electricity system as quickly as possible.”
Moldova would also be connected to the grid, since it too “wants to be able to choose its energy future”, she added.
Turning to the issue of EU aid to Ukraine, Simson said that Lithuania, Poland and the Czech Republic already had scheduled deliveries of petrol, diesel, generators and jet fuel, and that other member states had promised to help.
As for the EU’s energy problems, she said that the combination of an increase in the import of liquefied natural gas and a slow-down of the depletion of reserves meant that “we are still around 30% of storage capacity filled.”
In the circumstances, she warned, “we will reach the end of this winter with an exceptionally low level of gas storage.” However, should current trends continue, “our latest projection of storage for April is 18%, compared to over 30% the previous years.”
This made it all the more important to prepare plans to fill storage capacities before the next heating season, she said, acknowledging that the only long-term solution is the implementation of the EU Green Deal.