Ukraine has a lot of possibilities for the diversification of its energy sector, such as shale gas, shelf gas, coal gasification and renewables. Notably, hydrogen technologies open a large window of potential for introduction of projects of domestic energy production. Hydrogen could be used as a fuel for cars, trucks and boats, or for back-up power for hospitals, cell phone stations and more. Hydrogen is considered as the most promising alternative fuel: it could be obtained from many different sources, is completely clean in use, giving only water as a by-product. Worth to note, that last year Hyundai launches serial production of hydrogen cars (so-called Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)). These cars, corresponding to all safety standards, already run in Denmark, Great Britain, South Korea, USA and France.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko during his inauguration on June, 12th 2014 noted that creation of a new investment climate in Ukraine is one of his key objectives. On June 27th he signed the Association agreement with European Union. The agreements will open the vast 28-nation E.U. market, with its 504 million residents, to tariff-free exports to those countries in exchange for gradual work toward bringing regulations up to European standards.
Let’s have a look on details of the Association document, especially the part related with energy sector.
Article 338 states for:
f - enhancement and strengthening of long-term stability and security of energy trade, transit, exploration, extraction, refining, production, storage, transport, transmission, distribution and marketing, or sale of energy materials and products
i - promotion of energy efficiency and energy savings
j - development of and support for renewable energies in an economic and environmentally sound manner, as well as alternative fuels, including sustainable biofuel production, and cooperation on regulatory issues, certification and standardisation as well as on technological and commercial development;
l - scientific and technical cooperation and exchange of information for the development and improvement of technologies in energy production, transportation, supply and end use, paying particular attention to energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies
What consequences for investment climate in Ukraine it could make? It allows to accept EU’s safety and industry standards for hydrogen technologies. This is extremely important step to allow development of hydrogen technologies in Ukraine. This should be done as soon as possible after the ratification of the Association Agreement by Ukrainian Parliament.
What other domains are discussed in the Agreement?
Scientific cooperation is essential to boost research in the field of hydrogen technologies in Ukraine, which suffer now from the lack of funding and lack of possibility to commercialize the results of research. Articles 374-376 also mention Scientific cooperation. Especially interested Article 376, which will allow Ukrainian research to participate in funding opportunities from EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020.
Article 339 of the association document discusses coal sector. This industry is working on losses and need reconstruction. There is a way to produce hydrogen from coal, by the process of coal gasification. This process could be done underground, eliminating necessity of expensive and dangerous mining operations. This could allow modernization of depressive coal industry sector in the same time promoting utilization of domestic energies, what will decrease energy dependence of Ukraine from foreign energies.
The way for Ukraine’s energy independence is now open, but it will not be easy. A number of energy experts argue that alternative energy in Ukraine is discredited from abroad. Strengthening Ukraine's energy independence means reducing profits for oil and gas and nuclear monopolies, importing fuel to Ukraine. Moreover, this issue has a political component, so any methods are used in this game.
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