″ Green ″ Energy in Ukraine: Germans are advised to hurry | Ukraine and the Ukrainians: A View from Europe | DW

“Ukraine has great potential.” During the 30 years of independence, Ukrainians often heard these words from foreign politicians and businessmen. They also appeared at the Zoom conference, which was arranged on Monday, September 6, by the Eastern Committee of the German Economy. The main topic of the two-hour discussion was “green” energy in Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 construction completed (archive)

The issue became of particular interest after the July deal between Germany and the United States on Nord Stream 2. Coincidentally, during a conference on Monday, news came of the laying of the last pipeline from the gas pipeline project and its weld in German Baltic waters. In accordance with the agreement with Washington, Berlin pledged to support Kyiv’s transition to renewable energy sources, including the creation of the Green Fund, and the development of bilateral energy projects. Supporting hydrogen production and export as one of the new environmentally friendly fuel sources, in addition to traditional solar energy, wind energy and biomass energy, was also named as one of the points.

Germans head to Ukraine to talk about ‘green’ energy

Ukraine and Germany have been developing an energy partnership since August 2020, when a similar statement was signed at the level of ministries. Judging by the discussion, Berlin is speeding up the transition from words to deeds. In mid-September, Andreas Fichte, State Secretary of the German Economy Ministry, went to Kyiv, which at the conference praised Ukraine’s potential as a “major producer of green energy”.

Stanislav Tillich

Stanislav Tillich

Along with Feicht, Stanislav Tillich, the former Prime Minister of Saxony and the German government’s special envoy appointed in December 2020 to make structural changes to Ukraine’s coal regions, is heading to Kyiv. Tillich’s tasks are to help Kyiv close the mines and to share German expertise. The politician said at the Zoom conference that two mines had already been selected, one in western and eastern Ukraine, where pilot projects would be carried out. According to him, Germany allocates 60 million euros for them. The money will be used, among other things, to retrain miners who will lose their jobs. Volodymyr Bondarenko, representative of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, noted at the forum the fact that the social consequences of the transition to “green” energy would be difficult for Ukraine.

Why it will be difficult for Kyiv to export hydrogen

Participants in the discussion warned that in the European Union itself, where Ukraine is striving for integration, the transition to renewable energy within the framework of the so-called “Green Deal” will have negative consequences for Kyiv. According to them, this will lead to “new restrictions”.

This plant in Hamburg uses green hydrogen to produce copper

This plant in Hamburg uses “green” hydrogen to produce copper

Against this backdrop, Germany’s plans to help Ukraine produce hydrogen appear to be a daunting task. It is possible under certain conditions to use the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System (GTS) to export hydrogen to the European Union, but electricity is necessary for its production and, according to Brussels plans, should be environmentally friendly.

The share of renewable energy in Ukraine today is just over 15 percent, said Oleksandra Gominiuk, Director of Ukraine’s European Energy Agency. By 2030, Kyiv plans to increase this figure to 25 percent. For comparison: in Germany, the share of “green” energy in August 2021 was 47 percent. According to Gumenyuk, large companies occupy a third of the renewable energy market in Ukraine, including DTEK, whose CEO Maxim Timchenko also spoke at the forum. According to Timchenko, for a more successful development of “green” energy, Ukraine needs to “liberate the market”.

Ukraine will need Europe’s help

Gathering at the end of September in Kyiv and another participant in the discussion – Katharina Maternova, Head of the Ukraine Support Group at the European Commission. She said Ukraine would “need help” from the West to transition to renewable energy. European businessmen described the problem of project financing in Ukraine as one of the main problems. Maternova criticized Germany, saying that a government department had not put Ukraine on the list of priority areas for economic assistance. Government officials have not commented on this.

One of the main conclusions of the conference is that Ukraine has “enormous potential” associated with its territory, but it needs financial support from abroad. As Thomas Hoehner, a management member of German gas transport company Open Grid Europe, said, Kyiv should “think big and act fast”. According to him, the transition to “green” energy in Europe will be faster and faster.

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