Predicting the further development of economy and energy sector based on the most effective up-to-date technology the experts concluded that depending on the region a partial or complete replacement of nuclear and fossil fuels by renewable energy sources is possible. The project developed for Denmark shows that the transition to a sustainable energy system will not require expenditures greater than those to maintain the traditional energy costs (at least not for the next thirty years) but CO2 emissions can be reduced by 70%.
Is it possible for Ukrainian power industry to develop the same way? In the Renewable Energy Agency an estimate of the sustainable energy development in our country was done. Thus it was concluded that it is necessary to develop the available renewable energy sources rapidly though the clauses of the Energy Strategy of Ukraine till 2030 say quite the other. So the power industry of Ukraine would develop on the same technological and technical base as the countries of EU do.
Power Supply in Ukraine: The Path to 2050. Data in bln tonnes of equivalent fuel/ year. From bottom: Hydro-, Wind-, Wood-, Agriculture wastes, Landfill gas, Solar-concentrated, Solar-panels, Geothermal.
Fossil fuel resources in Ukraine
The explored coal reserves of Ukraine amount to around 52.6 billion tons - that's quite enough to meet the country’s coal consumption for the next hundred years. However from 1990 to 2000 the annual coal production decreased from 165 to 83 million tons and it will be very difficult to increase it back. The oil and natural gas situation in Ukraine is also disappointing: the known reserves are estimated at 222 million tons and may soon deplete. Over the last decade the annual oil production has decreased from 5,2 to 3,8 million tons while the annual consumption is about 30-35 million tons. According to the plans of industry development in future oil production will amount to around 5.2 million tons per year. The explored reserves of natural gas amount to 1.22 trillion m3, but they are scattered in several small fields. Its production in 2000 was about 18 billion m3 while the annual consumption was about 70 billion m3. It is planned to produce around 31 billion m3 per year. The experts suggest that after a period of production growth there will inevitably be a period of exhaustion of oil and gas fields. There are large deposits of uranium ore in Ukraine which provokes intentions to create a full cycle of uranium mining and converting it into nuclear fuel. It is well known what the "peaceful atom" brought. The lesson is clear and there’s no need to go through it again.
Renewable energy sources in Ukraine
Wind power. The possible capacity of a wind farms in the centralized energy system of Ukraine is estimated to be 16 000 MW. The capacity factor is assumed to be 30% (2630 h / year) – it is quite feasible for the climatic conditions of our country if the modern wind power plants are used. In this case the potential of wind energy use is 42 TW • h / year. It is planned to build WPP with total capacity of 11,290 MW with an annual electricity production of about 25 TW • h/year by 2030. From 2030 to 2050 the modernization of WPP built by then will prevail. Thus, by 2050 the technical potential of WPP building will be practically implemented and the amount of electricity they produce may reach 42 TW • h / year.
Solar power. In the climatic conditions of Ukraine it is possible to use solar energy to create a twenty-four-hour heat supply system. Such projects are implemented in many countries northward of Ukraine. The potential of solar energy use will be almost 75 TW • h / year if solar panels are used at a rate of 3.9 m2 per person and with an annual production of 400 kW / h per 1 m2 of solar collector. The forecast of solar collector implementation rate by 2030 is made taking into consideration the acceleration in 2030-2050's. Solar collectors are expected to produce 23 TW • h / year of thermal energy by 2050, which is only 30% of the technically available capacity.
Photovoltaics. In Ukraine the technical potential of solar radiation suitable for electricity production is estimated at 16 TW • h / year, to produce such energy amount about 3.3 m2 of photovoltaic cells per person are required with production of 100 kW hours/m2/year. Even if the houses are equipped with up-to date energy-efficient appliances such an amount of energy can provide all everyday necessities. The amount of electricity generated by solar photovoltaic installations is estimated to be 2 TWh / year by 2030, and it may reach 9 TWh / year by 2050.
The use of wood and wood waste. Ukraine harvests only 15 million m3 of wood per year, so it is imported to cover the deficit. Taking into account today’s forestry condition in our country it is estimated that 1.6 million m3 of cutting waste per year, 2.1 million m3 of wastes from the woodworking and 3.8 million m3/year of firewood is available for energy production, which is equivalent to 16.3 TWh / year of energy. The wood and wood waste consumption for energy production in 2000 amounted to 5.8 TWh * hours. It is estimated to be about 13 TWh by 2030, and it may reach 16.3 TWh • h / year in ten years. There is a great potential of increasing wood and wood waste use for energy purposes in Ukraine. At present there are workable proposals aimed to raise the productivity of Ukraine's forests to the level of neighboring countries. Therefore, the use of wood for energy production may reach 25 TW • h / year by 2050.
The use of agricultural waste. According to the estimate based on the unfavorable 1999 data the potential yield of straw and stalks is about 35 million tons per year. 13 million tons of straw are required for agricultural needs, the rest may be used for energy purposes which is about 20 million tons – the equivalent to 82 TWh of energy. At present the amount of straw used for energy production is equivalent to 2 GWh/yr. According to the prognosis of the bioenergy sector development, the consumption of straw and stalks for energy production in 2030 will be equivalent to 23 TW • h / year, and it may reach 50 TW • h / year by 2050. Such increase will require up to 60% of the available technical resources.
The use of biogas. It is estimated that the technically available resources of biogas are: 2308 million m3 from livestock waste, 334 million m3 from sewage sludge, 2.3 billion m3 from landfills, the total amount is equivalent to 28.2 TWh of energy. In 2000 the use of biogas was equivalent to 0.02 TWh / year. In the coming years the technology of landfill biogas usage will develop intensively, and after 2010 the production of biogas from livestock waste is expected to increase. The total use of biogas in 2030 may reach 10.2 TWh • h / year, and by 2050 it may increase up to 17.4 TW • h / year.
Geothermal energy. The technical potential of geothermal resources is 97.7 TW • h / year. It is predicted that 57 TW • h / year of geothermal energy will be used by 2030. It seems to be too optimistic. The resource of geocirculating systems having prospects taking into account the geological conditions of Ukraine can be exhausted in 20-30 years, and its restoration will require the millennium. Therefore, we assumed that in 2030 the geothermal energy use will be 8 TWh / year, and 14 TW • h / year in 2050, which is equivalent to present use of geothermal energy in the whole Europe.
Hydro energy. The technically available potential of hydro energy in Ukraine is 81 TWh/yr. The total economically expedient unused potential of hydropower is 17-19 TWh for large hydroelectric plants and up to 3.7 TWh for small hydro energy. Total unused economically feasible potential is sufficiently powerful hydroelectric plant is 17-19 billion kW • h, small hydro - to 3.7 billion kW • h, therefore the total economically expedient potential of hydro energy amounts to about 33 TWh/year. It is possible to develop hydroelectric power In Ukraine constructing hydroelectric plants of relatively high capacity (20-50 MW), which is unrealistic for many European countries. According to the forecasts HPP electricity production will amount to 15.1 TWh • h / year by 2030, so further increase in power production up to 25 TWh by 2050 may be expected.
We can’t but mention that the value of renewable energy is determined by the amount of traditional energy it can replace. Thus, the power generated by HPPs, wind farms, photovoltaic units is equivalent to almost three times more fossil fuel energy as energy production from fossil fuels also requires energy use. The diagram shows the amount of fossil fuels that may be replaced due to the increased use of renewable energy. By 2030 the annual use of renewable energy sources may increase so that it would replace up to 20 million tons of fuel equivalent /year of fossil fuels and nuclear power, and up to 42 million tons by 2050, which is 20% of current energy consumption in Ukraine.
Will Ukraine choose the way for sustainable development in energy sector? There are some political solutions to extend RES usage. We should mention the law of Ukraine “On power energy” with amendments envisages finance stimulus for wind power plant construction due to state budget expense. Draft amendment provides the introduction of incentives for the development of all renewable energy sectors, similarly to the current EU countries. Another important point is the Decree of the President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma of September, 26 2003 "On measures to promote the fuel production from raw biological material” which provides stimulation of ethanol fuel, biodiesel and biogas production.
Enlarged use of RES would allow solving a number of existing problems connected with environmental pollution and global warming; it would also reduce danger of energy and economy crisis.
Article by George Geletukha, Tatiana Iron, Nicholas Zhovmira, Andrew Konechenkova, Yury Matveyev "Power Supply in Ukraine: The Path to 2050." Green Energy, № 4, 2003.
Translaed by Kolodych Anna