Greener Eastern Partnership: decarbonizing Ukraine

On May 7, 2020, Viola von Cramon, at the expert online discussion “Electricity Market Reform: What’s at Risk?” Organized by the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, commented on the situation in the Ukrainian energy sector.

In the last 25 years, the Ukrainian energy sector and particularly the green energy have made only very moderate progress which is far from being enough. This is regrettable considering huge investments made by the international community as well as by internal investors.

In addition, Ukraine has enormous industrial sector, long engineering traditions, very good universities, and a well-trained workforce, nevertheless, the country struggles with putting these resources to use when it comes to reforming the energy sector.

Despite the huge potential, the Parliament of Ukraine is reluctant to create a renewable-friendly legal environment and facilitate reforms in the sector. Strong carbon lobby and influence of oligarchs are to be blamed:

Oligarchy is really pushing back in the face of Mr. Kolomoisky and the head of the [Energy] Committee – Mr. Andriy Gerus who is completely in line with the anti-renewable alliance and very closely linked with the pro-fossil fuel [interests]

Institutional weakness and outdated infrastructure represent additional key obstacles. While the country comes up with some concepts and ideas, a real sustainable strategy and clear vision are missing.

Lots of time was wasted and many opportunities missed. Now, it’s up to Zelensky’s government to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors and make clever and efficient investments in the renewable sector and eliminate the consequences of previous inactions.

Lastly, Ukraine should be reminded of the obligations she took through multiple international agreements. That should be enough to require the new government to honor those commitments and pursue decarbonization. On the other hand, the EU should use all available tools to negotiate a new strategy on renewables with Ukraine and incorporate the country into the European Green New Deal.

Viola von Cramon’s comment starting from 42:00

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